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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Michele Bachmann

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

   Herman-Cain-Florida-Straw-Poll

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 Politico.com, 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.

RELATED:

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


Rick Perry's underwhelming debates: Do they matter?

Governors Rick Perry and Mitt Romney Argue in the Republican debate 9-12-11

The news wasn't so good for the Republican presidential candidate who occupies the governor's office down there in Texas.

With their space-age podiums, cheering (or booing) audiences and their gotcha questions from media folks with their own makeup assistants, debates realistically have nothing to do with anything any president of any party would ever face in the Oval Office.

Debates do, however, have everything to do with how American voters perceive a candidate for president. How informed, well-spoken, straightforward, candid, quick, attentive do they look?

The Texas governor had suffered through two debate performances that could charitably be described as mediocre. He hardly looked presidential on the stage or up to the executive expectations that had pushed him to the front of the pack in polls.

Now came new polling showing his prime competitor surging to the lead in the important first primary state of New Hampshire.George W Bush and Al Gore Debate 10-18-00

Was this the end of his short presidential campaign? Or the end of the beginning in a very long presidential campaign for the White House?

No, this isn't the story of Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign, which turns 45 days old today.

This is a cautionary tale about reading too much into the early debate showings of any party's candidates, no matter how good or bad. Our esteemed and shall we say very veteran colleague Mark Barabak, calls our attention to a news story written almost 12 years ago, by him, as a matter of fact:

After his less-than-commanding performance in two presidential debates, George W. Bush faces a tougher race than expected amid growing signs of Republican discontent--including a new poll that shows major slippage in the key primary state of New Hampshire.

As it turned out, of course, John McCain did stay ahead of Bush in New Hampshire that cycle and whomped him good on primary day by about 15 points. The next morning, with aides vowing to get serious, the Bush campaign moved on to South Carolina, where the Texan won.

And the rest, as they say, is history that Barack Obama reminds us all about every few hours.

These campaigns are long and grueling, as they should be to determine the minds and mettle of the wannabes. John F. Kennedy announced his candidacy on Jan. 3 of that 1960 election year. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama announced in February, 21 months before the election.

Just as the substantial early TV audiences watch and study the 2011 debates, so do the candidates and their advisors. Besides the content, they're advised on how not to look bored, how and when to move a hand, when to point, how one particular expression dangerously resembles a sneer. (Remember Al Gore's infamous sighs from 2000?)

Watch Romney. This is his second rodeo. He's always paying attention to the others, often graciously grants part of their point and then moves to drive his home. Another respected colleague, Robin Abcarian, examined Perry's studied motions apparently mimicking Reaganesque movements.

Who's got a big enough DVR memory? But if anyone compared these early Republican debates to ones coming next winter, they'd see radically improved performances by the surviving candidates.

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A chat with Megyn Kelly on her prep to be debate moderator

 --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.

Photo: Mike Carlson / Associated Press (Romney and Perry joust in Sept. 12 debate); Tannen Maury / AFP (Bush and Gore debate, Oct. 18, 2000).

Herman Cain handily wins Florida GOP straw poll

   Herman-Cain-Fox-News-Google-GOP-debate

Herman Cain, former Godfather's Pizza CEO, followed a strong showing at this week's GOP debate in Orlando by joining most of his fellow Republican presidential candidates in addressing the Faith and Freedom Coalition and the Conservative Political Action Conference, in the same Florida city.

One of those meaningless straw polls followed.

But, wait. This one was different. Cain won. He took nearly 40% of the 2,567 votes cast, far outpacing the purported front-runners, Govs. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. That's a real PR setback for both losers and sets the stage for much media questioning of Perry about his stumbling campaign.

Romney had claimed he wasn't trying to win the straw poll, even though aides worked the phones, e-mails and aisles for him.

But Perry made an all-out free-breakfast-come-talk-with-me effort. And he lost, rather big-time, to a man who is the favorite of many conservatives, although a longshot to become the GOP's nominee.

Much of the GOP race attention has been focused on the Rock 'Em-Sock 'Em routine that's....

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Speaking of deep space, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and the GOP Gang of Nine debate again

NASA photo of five of Saturn's Moons from the Cassini spacecraft 7-29-11

There being "only" somewhere around 100 days left before the Iowa caucuses, nine Republican candidates had another debate anyway Thursday.

It seemed like the 10th debate in a week. But it was only the second.

Thaddeus McCotter, who was never in a debate, wasn't in again, as during the afternoon he quit the race that he was never really in.

The nine candidates all talked a lot. Not as much as the president. But a lot.

Sometimes two candidates talked at the same time. Like hockey refs, the moderators let them go at it.

Mitt Romney and Rick Perry discussed their books. Perry is still opposed to cancer, always will be. Michele Bachmann mentioned she's raised five biological and 23 foster children. Herman Cain, who beat cancer, was on 9-9-9 again. Gary Johnson told a dog joke he stole from Rush Limbaugh. But people laughed anyway.

Jon Huntsman has lived abroad four times but he came home each time, wiser. Newt Gingrich's huge head contains many big ideas, but he still overeats. Rick Santorum is from Pennsylvania. Ron Paul looks at least 76.

Megyn Kelly should be in every Fox News debate. Or was it Katherine Heigl?

Our running debate account is right here.

The full debate transcript is right here.

In interesting news, NASA has released new photos of fully five of Saturn's moons (see above) in one frame. The photo was taken by the Cassini spacecraft on July 29. It just arrived in the mail.

The moon on the right is Rhea. It's about 684,000 miles away, about the same distance as the 2012 election.

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-- 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.

Photo: NASA /JPL-Caltech /Space Science Institute.

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

   Fox-Google-Debate-You-Tube-Logo

If you believe pollster Frank Luntz's focus group in the post-game analysis on Fox News, Mitt Romney did himself a lot of good in Thursday's two-hour Fox News/Google GOP Debate, held in Orlando, Fla.

Nine candidates faced questions from FNC anchors Bret Baier, Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelly, and from citizens via YouTube and text messages: Gary Johnson, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman Jr.

Baier mentioned Google had provided Fox News with a new "boop" sound to indicate a candidate had run over time, since the former bell raised the ire of dog owners (and apparently the volume of their pets' barking).

Speaking of dogs, former New Mexico Gov. Johnson, who hasn't been in a debate since the first one in May, got in the line of the evening, quipping, "My next-door neighbors' two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration."

It got a lot of laughs even though some people swear they've heard Rush Limbaugh tell the same yarn.

Not to be outdone in the canine arena, Georgia-born businessman Cain criticized....

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

   Megyn-Kelly-Fox-News-America-Live
Megyn Kelly may have graduate and postgraduate degrees, but the homework never ends.

The anchor of FNC's daytime "America Live" news show, is preparing to grill GOP candidates as part of the panel for the Fox News/Google GOP Debate, starting at 6 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, Sept. 22.

It'll be carried on Fox News Channel (along with Fox News Radio and Fox News Mobile) and live-streamed on YouTube.com/FoxNews and FoxNews.com.

"The most challenging part of this process," Kelly says on the phone while driving home from work earlier this week, "has been the two-hour meetings we have in the morning from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., because none of of my colleagues has a 1 p.m. show.

"Honestly, you should see my morning -- wake up, feed my baby, take care of my son, try to get my house in order, try to get my kids in order, get out of the house, get to the office, do two hours worth of debate prep, try to squeeze in enough prep for the 10 guest interviews I have to do between 1 p.m and 3 p.m."

Before Kelly turned to journalism, joining FNC in 2004, she earned a B.A. in....

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N.H. poll shocker: Perry falls, Romney surges as does Jon Huntsman

Mitt Romney at a Florida Townhall 9-11

Well, here are a couple of -- no, make that several -- new wrinkles in the Republican presidential contest in New Hampshire:

With the next televised debate tonight in Florida on Fox News, a new poll of likely New Hampshire Republican voters shows Mitt Romney surging to a commanding 27-point lead over his closest GOP rival, who is not Rick Perry.

The Texas governor, whose mid-August entry saw him rush to the top of numerous national Republican polls, was pushed way down in the new Suffolk University Poll to fourth place deep into the single digits, barely ahead of the not-even-running Sarah Palin.

But here's a surprising, potentially significant development for the New Hampshire contest. Jon Huntsman, who's been swimming around the bottom of the field like a foraging flounder barely registering in most polls, has himself surged.

He's moved all the way up to 10% and third place -- ahead of Perry.

According to the new Suffolk University/7News poll of 400, the field there now stacks up this way:

Romney at 41%, up five points since June; Ron Paul at 14% and Huntsman at 10%, both up six points since June; Perry 8%; Palin 6%; Michele BJon Huntsman once caught a Fish This Big 7-11achmann 5%; Newt Gingrich at 4%; and Rick Santorum and Buddy Roemer both at 1%.

Romney's lead is impressive, though not surprising. He lives in New Hampshire part time, was all over the state's media as governor and a Senate candidate next door in Massachusetts and has made major investments there of time, staff and money.

Huntsman's soft-spoken, laid-back campaign style, which flops during televised debates, suits New Hampshire sidewalks perfectly.

He seems to have all the time in the world to talk with this one fellow here and then his wife, who comes along. That goes over well in the state where personal conversations are not only expected but demanded of visiting primary pols.

It was about this time in 1999 that John McCain's living-room-to-living-room efforts began to register ominously on the radar of his opponents. And then on a chilly January election day there, the first exit polls were so disturbing that George W. Bush's strategist Karl Rove did not finish his breakfast.

McCain ended up taking New Hampshire that night from another Texan in cowboy boots by a humbling 15 points.

Romney scored an impressive 69% favorable in the Suffolk survey, compared to 56% unfavorable for Palin. He looks poised and presidential in these debates. But if Huntsman defeated Romney there 3 1/2 months from now or even came close, that could prove crippling for Romney's second bid for his party's nomination.

If Perry can do well in South Carolina and maybe snatch Iowa from Bachmann, that sets up a real potential showdown with Romney in Florida, where tonight's 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time debate is co-sponsored by Google and the state party.

Nine Republicans will be on the Orlando stage, as ex-New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson qualified for a podium with a 1% standing in a set of polls.

Oh, and there's a straw poll at tonight's gathering too. Can you say Ron Paul?

RELATED:

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New numbers find a Rick Perry-Mitt Romney race emerging

-- 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.

Photos: Joe Raedle / Getty Images (Romney at a Florida town hall); Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press (Huntsman at an Iowa debate)

Gary Johnson added to Fox News/Google GOP debate

  Gary-Johnson-New-Mexico

Gary Johnson has just been added to the roster for the Fox News/Google GOP presidential debate, set for Thursday, Sept. 22, in Orlando, Fla.

The event also features the eight usual participants from the last GOP debate on CNN on Sept. 12 --  Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman Jr., Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Plus now add the former New Mexico governor, who hasn't been in a debate since the first one, a Fox News debate in South Carolina on May 5.

Johnson is included over the objections of the cosponsoring Florida Republican Party, because he fit the criterion set by Fox News. That is to have at least 1% of the vote in the most recent editions of the five national polls that included him: Fox News, CNN, McClatchy-Marist, ABC and Quinnipiac.

Still no Thaddeus McCotter, as we noted here.

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-- 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. We're also available on Kindle. Use the retweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Gary Johnson addressing "tea party" supporters in May in South Carolina. Credit: Richard Shiro / Associated Press

Ron Paul wins California Republican straw poll

   Ron-Paul-straw-poll-CAGOP-4

This weekend, the California Republican Party had its 2011 Fall Convention at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. One presidential candidate, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, spoke at a dinner on Friday night, and Saturday morning's breakfast featured two more contenders: Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Paul's fans were out in force both outside the hotel -- awaiting his arrival -- and inside the ticketed Lincoln Clubs Breakfast. He spoke last and was late, allowing McCotter to add a question-and-answer period to his prepared remarks (more on that later, check back).

McCotter is also on the roster of speakers for Sunday's Beverly Hills Tea Party, to be held from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Beverly Hills Park on Santa Monica Blvd.

Raucous cheers and whistles and whoops and screams -- one could be forgiven for wondering....

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How Jay Leno handled Michele Bachmann's appearance on his show

Michele Bachmann chatting with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show 9-16-11

As usual, there was nothing confrontational about Jay Leno's interview with his political guest, in this case, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

She was on the West Coast on Friday to speak in Orange County and at the state Republican Convention in L.A. and, who knows? Maybe to schmooze some money from the people who give California its Golden State name too. Watch out. President Obama is on his way to California too in a few days. Although, the story is, some Hollywood folks are kinda unhappy with him.

Bachmann's star soared last summer. She won the Ames Straw Poll, which means nothing in reality but sounds good in the media for a while. But that same day, Rick Perry entered the Republican presidential sweepstakes. He's a big-shot GOP governor from Texas and began sucking the air, the money and the media attention away from the only female in the contest so far.

Late-night American TV is a special breed. Some jokes. A little music. Some chatter. Maybe a movie starlet swears she got locked out of her Paris hotel room with nothing to wear but a hand towel. Nothing too complicated or controversial because regardless of the time zone, Americans are in their beds beginning to drift off to zzzzzz...

Not all Americans realize that these late-night interviews, especially with politicians, are ...

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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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