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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Donald Trump

Herman Cain: 'I'm the president of the United States of America!'


Herman Cain is currently on a roll, following his strong debate performance in Orlando on Sept. 22 with a decisive win last Saturday in the Florida GOP straw poll.

Once considered a second-tier candidate and kind of an afterthought, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO is leapfrogging over half the field to find himself within spitting distance of top-tier status.

So, what's an up-and-coming candidate to do? Release a book, of course. And if you're running for president, you might as well imagine yourself as already being there.

As quoted in an extensive piece at, Cain writes in "This Is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House":

“Well, I’m just about at the elevator up to the family quarters. But bear with me for just a minute more as I confirm who I am. It’s obvious; I’m the president of the United States of America!"

The memoir, due out next week from Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, takes Cain from his childhood in Georgia through his career and his battle with Stage Four cancer to his hoped-for triumphant arrival in Washington, D.C., and imagined first term in office.

It's not rare for a candidate to have a book. In fact, Michele Bachmann has her own book coming out in November. But most -- like Perry's and Romney's -- deal with policy positions and political philosophy. Cain takes it a step further by, according to Politico, even discussing the first lady plans of his wife of 43 years, Gloria.

Cain also takes on the assertion that he is not knowledgeable about foreign policy, a charge that could also be leveled at his fellow candidates, former governors Rick Perry and Mitt Romney (and, for that matter, at former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter -- governors all, plus Obama).

This particular issue stuck in the craw of Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly, who challenged recently announced Cain supporter Dennis Miller on Wednesday's "The O'Reilly Factor."

"I like Herman Cain," said O'Reilly. "I like his spirit. I think he presents himself very well. But when he came on 'The Factor' a few weeks ago, he had no clue about foreign affairs. None.'"

Miller responded with a reference to President Obama, saying: "Oh, like the guy in there now does?"

O'Reilly countered with: "Aren't we supposed to improve upon that?"

Take a look at the whole exchange:

Cain also caused some controversy elsewhere on Wednesday, while talking to anchor Wolf Blitzer on CNN's "The Situation Room" (click here for the full transcript).

First, Cain addressed the issue of why most African Americans won't vote Republican, saying: "Because many African Americans have been brainwashed into not being open-minded, not even considering a conservative point of view. I have received some of that same vitriol simply because I am running for the Republican nomination as a conservative."

Cain also said he believes a third to 50% of black Americans are "open-minded," saying: "More and more black Americans are thinking for themselves. And that's a good thing."

It's a position Cain also discussed during a Monday appearance on Fox News Channel's "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren," saying:

"And because the unemployment rate for black people is nearly 17%, instead of the 9%, they're looking for something that's going to boost this economy. And they see that possibility in my 9-9-9 plan.

"That's what's going to peel off the black vote: results, not rhetoric."

(Click here for the full transcript and video.)

Also addressed during the CNN interview was the issue of Perry's support, along with the Texas legislature, for giving in-state tuition discounts to children of illegal immigrants.

This policy got the Texas governor in some hot water in the last GOP debate -- in which he characterized those who disagreed with him as "heartless" -- and earned him a rebuke from his fellow Republican, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, during his speech at the Reagan Library on Tuesday.

In opposing Perry's use of taxpayer funds to subsidize the lower tuition rates, Christie said: "Let me be very clear. From my perspective, that is not a heartless position. That is a common sense position."

Perry even had to do a bit of backpedaling on his "heartless" claim. He told Newsmax in an exclusive video interview posted on Wednesday, that, "I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word, and it was inappropriate."

Asked on CNN if he agreed with Perry's position, Cain said: "No, absolutely not. Because I happen to believe that that puts children of illegals in front of citizens, in front of soldiers. I don't agree with that. We must first secure the border for real. That's the real problem we need to make sure that we solve. Then, decide later.

"Now, I do agree that it's a state's issue. It's a state's decision. But I don't believe in putting children of illegals, because of compassion, in front of citizens."

Cain also said that, as of right now, that position would prevent him from supporting Perry if he becomes the GOP's eventual nominee:

"Today, I could not support Rick Perry as the nominee for a host of reasons. Him being soft on securing the border is one of the reasons. I feel very strongly about the need to secure the border for real, the need to enforce the laws that are already there, the need to promote the path to citizenship that's already there.

"But, more importantly, empower the states to enforce the national federal immigration laws because the federal government didn't do it, can't do it, and they never will do it. So, that's where I think he and I have a basic fundamental difference of opinion."

Cain did say though, that while he does not support the individual mandate put in place by Mitt Romney in his Massachusetts healthcare bill, he could support Romney as the nominee so long as he vowed to repeal Obamacare.

A new Fox News phone poll is out, placing Cain in third place now with 17%, trailing Romney, who has 23%, and Perry, who has 19%.

(Click here for the full poll results.)

Cain is even making the apparently obligatory visit to New York City to talk with businessman and reality show star Donald Trump on Oct. 3, following the lead of fellow hopefuls Perry, Romney and Bachmann.


Herman Cain handily wins Florida GOP straw poll

Chris Christie won't run but doesn't mind being asked

GOP debate: Rick Perry vs. Mitt Romney, plus Gary Johnson and some dogs

-- Kate O'Hare

Photo: Herman Cain addresses Florida GOP activists in Orlando last Saturday. Credit: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

NASA still trying to sell that story about U.S. astronauts walking on the moon

NASA says this is Earth's Moon Not the Death Star photographed on 11-24-69 by an inbound Apollo space crew

NASA is apparently still trying to sell the story line that all those 1969-1970s grainy photos of Americans appearing to walk on the moon were genuine and not faked on a sandy sound stage in Burbank.

The space agency has just released a whole new batch of photos it claims were recently taken by a science satellite low-orbiting the moon. And, get this, NASA says these new grainy photos actually show the footprints and tire marks of long ago American visits by crews of Apollo 11, 14 and 17.

Finally, "proof."

NASA, for instance, says the photo above is not a CGI frame of the Death Star, a figment of some wine-soaked imagination north of San Francisco. It says the photo was taken Nov. 24, 1969, by an inbound Apollo space crew.

Flight controllers altered the orbit of the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter, which has been studying the moon's complete surface, so that its closest point to the surface was 13 miles instead of....

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Ames straw poll: Michele Bachmann beats Ron Paul -- by 152 votes


Rep. Michele Bachmann won the Ames straw poll today, but only by 152 votes over fellow Rep. Ron Paul.

Tim Pawlenty came in third with only about half the votes of Paul. Rick Santorum was fourth followed by Herman Cain (scroll down for vote totals).

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who wasn't on the Ames ballot and declared his candidacy only this afternoon in Charleston, S.C., before conservative writers, pulled something of an upset.

With only write-in votes, Perry topped Mitt Romney by about 200. They were both trailed by Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Thaddeus McCotter.

 The quadrennial straw poll was held in the Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University, also....

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Obama's new fundraising speech: 2008 was really bad, so I need a second term

Air Force One lands in Chicago 8-3-11

After a rough month of enforced presidenting from within the White House, President Obama fled Washington and governing Wednesday, back to Chicago allegedly to celebrate his birthday with home folks.

But, of course, the real reason was campaigning for money, raising more of it from the Windy City for his billion-dollar reelection campaign. The Wednesday highlight was supposed to be a high-stakes dinner with the president, which isn't really dinner with the president because he just arrives late, speaks briefly and leaves without eating. The tab: $35,800 per plate.

Ticket readers get his entire expensive speech for free simply by scrolling down.

Despite enduring a newly sagging economy and the worst wrong track and job approval numbers of his presidency, this 50th birthday of Obama's is turning out to be a big deal. His Russian pal, President Dmitry Medvedev, called the other day. Jennifer Hudson sang for him Wednesday. Little Rahm Emanuel, now Mayor Emanuel, praised him highly.

Some Obama staff traveled out to Andrews Air Force Base to greet the returning POTUS at....

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Donald Trump tells GOP to force a default so Obama isn't reelected


Donald Trump has some interesting advice for the Republican Party. The New York real estate tycoon went on "Fox & Friends" Monday morning and told the hosts that if the GOP wants to ensure that President Obama isn't reelected, all it has to do is not make any deals with Democrats and default on Aug. 2.

Trump seems to think that using the country's sparkling AAA credit rating as a sacrificial lamb and letting the nation default would damage Obama, who has been willing to put everything including entitlements on the table, more than it would hurt Republicans who have stubbornly refused to raise revenues on the richest Americans and companies during the debt ceiling negotiations.

"When it comes time to default, they’re not going to remember any of the Republicans’ names. They are going to remember in history books one name, and that’s Obama,” Trump said.

For some reason the boisterous billionaire doesn't seem at all concerned about the damage such an unprecedented U.S. default could do to Wall Street and other financial markets. Trump's casual approach is not shared by financial experts.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington told Money & Co. that if Congress can't get it together, the results could be tragic as banks would slow down on lending and investors might pull their money out of the market.

“If we got to a crush point where we couldn’t come to a deal, that would wipe out the financial sector,” Baker said.


Donald Trump and Sarah Palin have a pizza summit in New York

Donald Trump in Vegas: 'Our leaders are stupid, they are stupid people'

Donald Trump says the Republicans are 'terrible, terrible, frightened negotiators'

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: Real estate mogul Donald Trump speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington on June 3. Credit: Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Buddy Roemer elbows into a crowded GOP presidential field


Charles Elson "Buddy" Roemer III is running for the GOP nomination for president.

Outside of Louisiana -- where Shreveport-born Roemer was a four-term member of Congress in the early to mid-'80s, and the state's one-term 52nd governor back in the late '80s and early '90s -- the response of most GOP voters would probably be, "Who?"

Of course, that's the same reaction many had to the candidacy of Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, but at least he had recent appearances on C-SPAN and Fox News' "RedEye W/Greg Gutfeld" to his credit. The 67-year-old Roemer has been out of politics since attempting a gubernatorial comeback in 1995, working in finance and banking (as befits a Harvard MBA).

These days, the only excitement over a Louisiana governor running for the Republican nod would be if the statehouse's present occupant, Bobby Jindal, jumped in -- and there's no indication of that.

Roemer's announcement at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire on Thursday was under the motto of "Free to Lead" -- which he is, as is everybody else in the race, since none of the announced candidates is incarcerated or a convicted felon.

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The other reason driving Allen West's outrage

florida Republican representative allen West 6-3-11Have you ever noticed you don't see much news each morning about the estimated 80,000 airplane flights that landed safely the previous day?

Or, conversely, that before any prominent politician completes a major speech, someone is already denouncing its assertions and falsehoods?

That's one of the most important rules of politics in modern America: If you want to get noticed, don't get along. Pick a fight.

Conflict sells. The D.C. media pack feeds off it. Did Donald Trump get more attention last spring from his outspoken doubts about the president's birth certificate?

If faux outrage in American politics had any value, it could pay down a handsome chunk of the $14.2 trillion national debt. These revealing conflicts are Exhibit A why no one will ever change the harsh partisan tone of Washington.

Now, getting noticed is crucial to politicians running for office. No one runs for office more often than the 435 members of the House of Representatives. And no one needs to run harder for office every two years than new members of that chamber.

Republican Rep. Allen West is one of those. He's from Florida. He gave a speech in the House this week in support of the GOP's so-called "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan to cut spending and the national debt. It's not going anywhere. But fine.

After West left the floor, another representative from Florida, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, gave a speech criticizing West's speech. She also happens to be the new chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, is still trying to show her scrappy bona fides and does not allow any criticism of the country's top Democrat to go unchallenged. Same old, same old.Florida Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz 7-20-11

A little-known backbencher taking on the alleged head of the other party is a publicity opportunity not to be missed. And their interests collided during last fall's campaign too.

According to West, who apparently does not have access to C-SPAN, her predictably Democratic remarks outside his presence constituted a protocol breach and criticism behind his back.

So West fired off an e-mail to Wasserman Schultz with copies to congressional leaders to ensure it would receive wider distribution, maybe -- who knows? -- even reach the media. And dribble down to Florida.

In his angry missive, West said: "Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige." He called his fellow representative "vile, despicable and cowardly." Also, "not a lady."

Not as good as arguing over what Rush Limbaugh said. But it did allow the media to run around covering the latest meaningless little conflict and seek outraged reactions from all sides, allowing them to pick a fight with the fight-picker.

Not to let a golden opportunity pass unutilized, on Wednesday West emailed, you guessed it, a fundraising appeal repeating his charges and adding: "Her agenda isn’t to improve the lives of Floridians or to stand on principle. She’s an attack dog for the liberal, progressive wing of the Democratic Party — plain and simple. And it’s times like this that I need friends with me."

Then came the appeal for, say, $25 or more.

Next comes the squabble back home about whether Allen should or did apologize.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Molly Riley / Reuters (West); Alex Wong / Getty Images (Wasserman Schultz).

Late-night jokes: Obama's new economic plan: Buy lottery tickets and hope

Carmageddon the empty 405 freeway in los angeles 7-17-11

As The Ticket's 69,000-plus Twitter followers here and 7,000 Facebook friends/fans here know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the "Share" buttons above.

Leno: The country is edging closer to default. We could be out of money by Aug 2. I'm actually surprised we have enough money to make it to then.

Fallon: The Treasury Department is shifting from paper to electronic savings bonds next year. But don’t worry — the electronic bonds will be just as worthless as the paper ones.Tim Geithner 7-10-11

Leno: Obama's latest economic recovery plan: He told Treasury Secretary Geithner to take the little money we have left and buy lottery tickets.

Leno: Democrats warned today that if the debt limit is not raised by Aug. 2, the federal government will cease to function. How do you tell?

Letterman: So CNN has canceled the TV show of ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer. And you have to wonder how will the poor guy spend an hour now.

Leno: CNN has canceled Eliot Spitzer's show, "In the Arena." Apparently network executives made the decision after realizing it was still on.

Fallon: Illinois schools are dropping the written parts of their standardized school tests. Asked why, a spokesman said, "We simple does not needs them."

Leno: Prince William and Kate immersed themselves in American culture so much during their U.S. visit they went home $2 trillion in debt.

Leno: So they closed down L.A.'s 405 freeway for the weekend. They have to do this every couple of years to sweep up the shell casings.

Leno: The jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of murder. Know what this means? Obama's economic team is now only the planet's second most clueless group of people.

Fallon: Two Delta planes collided the other day at the Boston airport. Passengers are OK except for having to pay Delta’s $50 collision fee.Dalai Lama 7-17-11

Letterman: That All-Star Baseball Game is something else? And the home run derby? What's more exciting than a home run that doesn't count? Next: a foul-tip derby.

Leno: Did you read about the Chinese toddler who fell 10 stories and was caught by a woman? The kid is OK. Didn't miss a day of work.

Leno: Over the weekend President Obama met with the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama talked about the difficulty of living under China's thumb. And Obama said, "Tell me about it."

Conan: Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, gave birth to a baby girl over the weekend. The baby’s name is Trump Granddaughter and Casino.

Conan: Borders bookstore is going to be liquidated after failing to receive a single bid to buy the company. Apparently, all the potential investors who showed up just hung around inside for a while, hoping to use the bathroom.

Leno: There was so much fear about closing L.A.'s 405 freeway for a few days that even the Mexican government told its people not to cross for a few days.


Second recession coming; When did the first end?

Great Wall of China model for U.S. border with Mexico

Seeking better economic advice, Obama opts for Magic 8-Ball

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle.Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photos: The closed 405 freeway in Los Angeles, Sunday. Photo credit: David McNew / Reuters. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Photo credit: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images. The Dalai Lama on Sunday. Photo credit: Keith Hale / Associated Press.

Donald Trump says the Republicans are 'terrible, terrible, frightened negotiators'

Donald Trump and Sarah Palin
Donald Trump is not at all impressed by the congressional Republicans like Eric Cantor and John Boehner and their brand of negotiating. Wednesday the boisterous billionaire was on Fox News and gave Greta Van Susteren an earful like only The Donald could.

"Well, the Republicans are doing another el foldo," Trump said in regard to the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations between GOP leaders and President Obama.

"They did one during the lame-duck session, where they brought Obama, like a phoenix he rose again. He was gone. It was over. And all of a sudden, they just allowed him back into the game. And now they're doing another one but at a much higher level. This is incredible," Trump complained.

"The fact is the Republicans are terrible negotiators," the author of the bestselling "Art of the Deal" continued. "One of the things that most bothered me when I was thinking about running and when I was leading in the polls, I would look at some of the decisions these people were making, and I couldn't believe it. You look at what Paul Ryan has done with Medicare, where he wants to knock out and destroy Medicare, whether he is or not, certainly the perception is that he is.

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Medicare 'is a problem because we have become a poor nation,' Donald Trump says

Donald Trump speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C., Friday, June 3 2011.

Medicare was the topic on the table when Donald Trump called in from a golf course to speak to Bill O'Reilly, but naturally the subject returned to the billionaire's plans to run for president.

But first Trump explained that if Asian countries "would let us have our jobs back," the issues with Medicare would get resolved naturally.

"Bill, if we could get the economy going and if China would stop taking all of our jobs because our leaders are not smart -- in fact, I'll go a step further -- because we have stupid leadership, and if South Korea and all of these other countries that make all of our products and, in particular China, would let us have our jobs back, if we had intelligent people negotiating, where all of these countries -- by the way, China, what they are doing with their currency in terms of manipulation makes it impossible for our people to compete," Trump told the Fox host on "The O'Reilly Factor" on Friday.

"So if we took our jobs back and we made this country strong again and we made our own product and we got together, not -- you don't get together -- if we did something with respect to OPEC, who is ripping us off like nobody's ever ripped us before, Medicare would take care of itself," deduced The Donald.

Trump's favorite subject, of course, is himself, and he did not miss the opportunity to tell O'Reilly of his intention to run as an independent if the GOP nominates someone weak.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



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