Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Endorsements

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

Thaddeus McCotter ends GOP bid, citing "death by media"; backs Romney

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, a candidate for in the GOP presidential race since July, withdrew his name from the running Thursday, hours before the latest Republican debate, to which he was again not invited.

He released the following statement:

Today, September 22, 2011, U.S. Representative Thaddeus G. McCotter (MI) has issued the following statement:

“Today, effective immediately, I have withdrawn my candidacy to become the Republican Party’s nominee for the Office of President of the United States of America.

“I have decided to seek re-election to continue to serve as your United States Representative for Michigan’s new 11th Congressional District; and, I am committed to promoting and implementing a platform of principled conservatism.

“Truly, Michigan and America’s best days are ahead of us because of you. Together we will transcend our challenges; revitalize our economy; defend our freedom; and bequeath our exceptional nation to our children.”

McCotter has been unable to reach the polling levels required by the various news organizations to participate in any of the GOP debates since he announced his candidacy. For the Thursday Fox News/Google debate, it was at least 1% of support in five national polls.

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who had not been in a debate since the first one in May in South Carolina, cleared the hurdle and will be on the stage in Orlando for tonight's debate.

In an interview with the Detroit News, McCotter said, "If they keep you out of the debates, you are out of the conversation, and you can't run. It was sort of death by media."

In the same piece, McCotter said he would throw his support behind his home state's former govenor, Mitt Romney, saying, "Especially with his business background and in a stagnant economy, he may be the most electable."


Who is Thaddeus McCotter and why care?

Gary Johnson added to Fox News/Google GOP debate

Prepping for tonight's GOP debate with Megyn Kelly of Fox News

-- Kate O'Hare

Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH.

Speaking of 2012, follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. Use the retweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter at the Sept. 18 Beverly Hills Tea Party rally . Credit: Kate O'Hare for the Los Angeles Times

Tim Pawlenty quits after third-place straw-poll finish


You can argue the Ames Straw Poll is merely a beauty contest and doesn't matter, but for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty -- like others before him -- it was enough to break his campaign's back.

Pawlenty went on ABC News' "This Week" on Sunday and told correspondent Jake Tapper that he was ending his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination less than a full day after a disappointing third-place finish in the Ames Straw Poll. He came in well behind winner Rep. Michele Bachmann and close second-place finisher Rep. Ron Paul.

His name was in the mix early as a GOP presidential contender, and as a "two-term governor of a blue state," as he described himself to Tapper, he felt that track record of working across the aisle would be a plus.

But the quick rise of fellow Minnesota politician Bachmann, the continued presence of...

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Michele Bachmann signs anti-gay pact that says times were better for black kids during slavery

Michele Bachmann signs anti-gay pact that says times were better for black kids during slavery

Michele Bachmann signed a controversial pact Thursday that is anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-pornography, and floats the curious notion that African American children were better off during slavery than they are under the Obama administration.

The pledge was drawn up by Bob Vander Plaats, a man who ran for governor of Iowa in 2010 and lost in the Republican primary despite the benefit of an endorsement from Internet legend Chuck Norris. Vander Plaats also sought the high office in Iowa in 2002 and 2006 (as Jim Nussle's running mate) but voters gave him the thumbs down.

Somehow he fancies himself a kingmaker and is hoping that other GOP politicians, desperate to appear so-conservative-it-hurts will sign his pledge [.pdf] titled "The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon MARRIAGE and FAMILY."

The manifesto is ripe with anti-gay paranoia written by the man who once said, "If we’re teaching the kids, 'don’t smoke, because that’s a risky health style,' the same can be true of the homosexual lifestyle."

But the strangest nugget in the pact that the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota signed was one that hearkens back to the good old days when slavery was legal, meaning that black kids had the priceless benefit of having a traditional home.

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Late-night's best: The Kardashian$, Twitter, Home Depot, bankrupt Borders and a 1 HP Lamborghini

A $500,000 Lamborghini

As The Ticket's 58,900-plus Twitter followers here and 6,500 Facebook 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.

Here's the regular Monday morning collection from the previous week:

Leno: This week is the 40th anniversary of the war on drugs. Our partner Mexicans had a moment of silence and then hours of laughter.
Farmville on Facebook
Conan: President Obama met with Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, today. The good news is he can create new jobs. The bad news is, they're all in Farmville.

Leno: So Facebook is thinking of buying Twitter for $10 billion to combine the two companies into the biggest waste of time the world has ever seen.

"SNL": Current TV. If you're not familiar with Current TV, it's a channel founded by Al Gore. If you are familiar with Current TV, congratulations on being Al Gore.

Conan: Reports today that last year the Kardashian sisters made....

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Sarah Palin says she could win in 2012; George Soros' support of Obama wavers

Sarah Palin fishing with her family in Sarah Palin's alaska on TLC

Two political grenades exploding today, one in each party.

In an advance excerpt of a Barbara Walters ABC News exclusive interview on the year's most fascinating people, Sarah Palin says, yes, in fact, she does believe she could beat Barack Obama in a 2012 presidential race.

It's the farthest Palin has gone yet in indicating her possible plans for 2012. Until now, she's just talked about being willing to run if no one else emerged or if the country needed her.

Separately, Huffington Post is reporting that billionaire and Democrat mega-money man George Soros privately told big-time....

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Getting to know you: Post-election, Sarah Palin's favorable rating rises again

Republican Sarah Palin at a Republican National Committee Fire Pelosi rally in Orlando Florida 10-23-10

Oh, look!

Sarah Palin's favorable ratings are up again.

We should probably write something about that to keep Americans informed as the 2012 presidential race starts taking shape.

Predictably, a new Associated Press-GfK Poll finds Palin to be "the most polarizing of the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates." According to AP's numbers, 49% of Americans view the politician mother unfavorably, while 46% view her favorably. Five percent, far less than for other potential candidates, claim not to know enough to have an opinion.

Eleven months ago a Gallup Poll found Palin's favorability was at 44%, up from 40% two months before.

The AP poll could also have cited the majority of Americans who currently say they ...

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Joe Biden wrong again, Sarah Palin nails her picks, big-name losers and where was Hillary Clinton?

Democrat vice president Joe Biden campaigns for Chris Coons in Delaware 11-1-10

Well, once again Joe Biden blew it.

Last June the voluble VP promised a summerful of economic recovery. Fail!

Then all fall he guaranteed his Democratic Party would maintain majority control of both houses of Congress. Fail!

Democrats lost the House and came close in the Senate, losing 60% of their majority there. Meaning the VP may be spending more time up on Capitol Hill, where he started working when Barack Obama was a sixth-grader. there, he'll preside as the tie-breaking president of the Senate. Good thing he didn't try to predict results at the state level, where the GOP now controls a majority of governors, state legislatures and state legislative seats.

Other than that, a good night for VP prognosticating.


How did the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, do on her endorsements? Well....

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Who's giving props to who? DeMint, Huckabee, Boehner tweet congrats [Updated]

Vote  (This post will be updated throughout the night)

Schwarzenegger (California) Just called to congratulate @JerryBrown2010. Looking forward to Maria & me getting together w/ him & Anne to talk abt a smooth transition.

johnboehner Congratulations to @WebsterCongress on his victory in #fl08!

johnboehner Congratulations to @RobertHurt on his victory in #va05!

johnboehner Congratulations to @SandyAdams4FL24 on her victory in #fl24!

JohnKerry (Massachusetts) harry reid!!!

timpawlenty (Minnesota) Congrats to @MarcoRubio - a transformative leader for a new generation. #2010 #election

timpawlenty Congrats to @electadam @robportman @Steve_Stivers @frankguinta @ayotte2010 @burrforsenate @stevechabot #2010 #Election

villaraigosa (Los Angeles)  Great news! RT @HamiltonSarah: LA Times calling CA Senate race for Barbara Boxer!

JimDeMint (South Carolina): Congrats to Marco Rubio. He knows America is exceptional and he's passionate about the principles of freedom.

JimDeMint Congrats to Rand Paul. Voters in KY said no to pork-barrel politics and sent an outstanding leader to the Senate.

GovMikeHuckabee (Arkansas) Congrats to @MarlinStutzman on your win this evening! Indiana wins!

GovMikeHuckabee Congratulations to Huck PAC endorsed candidates Rich Nugent and Steve Southerland on their victories tonight.

GovMikeHuckabee Congratulations to @robportman and @DrRandPaul!

GovMikeHuckabee Congrats to @Boozman4AR! Arkansas wins!

GovMikeHuckabee Good friend Gov. John Hoeven wins his US Senate seat. Congratulations John!

OrrinHatch (Utah) RT @OrrinPAC: Congratulations @MarcoRubio, @Ayotte2010 and @RoyBlunt on your victories tonight. #FLsen #NHsen #MOsen

OrrinHatch  RT @OrrinPAC: Congratulations @Boozman4AR, @JimDeMint and @MoranForKansas on your victories tonight. #ARsen #SCsen #KSsen

Nan Hayworth (New York) Marco Rubio coasts in FL SEN! The Tea Party train is rolling now!

Nan Hayworth John Hoeven in ND chalks up 3rd GOP Senate pickup!

Kevin McCarthy (California) Congrats to Robert Hurt in VA-5 and Morgan Griffith in VA-9 on your victories!

Kevin McCarthy Congrats to Todd Young in IN-9 on his victory!

Rob McKenna (Washington) Congratulations to my friend Senator-elect Kelly Ayotte on her victory in New Hampshire tonight!

-- Craig Howie

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Image credit: James Edward Bates/Biloxi Sun Herald/MCT


Last-minute Rocky Mountain Hi: Sarah Palin endorses third party Tom Tancredo for Colorado governor

Republican Sarah Palin greets a supporter while campaigning for GOP Senate candidate John Raese in West Virginia 10-30-10

For all its clean air and blue skies, Colorado has been a weirdly messy place politically this year.

There was former President Bill Clinton allegedly offering yet another Democratic Senate candidate a job working for the Obama administration if he left the competition. He didn't and lost anyway.

Then Republican ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo, he of the spectacularly unsuccessful bid for the GOP presidential nomination, jumps into the governor's race as a third-party American Constitution candidate.

And now on the last day ex-Gov. Sarah Palin endorses Tancredo against the hopelessly trailing....

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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.
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