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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Television

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).

Late-night jokes: Starbucks CEO reveals how he got rich

Obama at the UN with South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit As The Ticket's 73,000-plus Twitter followers and 7,200 Facebook friends/fans know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each evening.

Feel free to pass this weekly collection on to friends using the "Share" buttons above.

Fallon: President Obama arrived 25 minutes late for a luncheon at the United Nations. In fact, he was so late, he had to sit next to Joe Biden at the kids' table.

Letterman: The U.N. General Assembly is reconvening. Fun to drive by and see those world leaders sitting on the front porch hooting at all the passing chicks.

Conan: Arnold Schwarzenegger is writing a memoir. It'll be available in hardcover, paperback and a book-on-tape that’s impossible to understand.

Fallon: At a New York City fundraiser President Obama says he's in ‘in a New York ...

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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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Sunday shows: Netanyahu, Cameron, Ryan, Plouffe

British prime minister David Cameron inspects a Canadian Honor Guard 9-22-11

ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour: British Prime Minister David Cameron, Hanan Ashrawi of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Obama advisor David Plouffe, with George Will, Mary Matalin, Amy Walter and Donna Brazile

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt:" House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Reince Priebus and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairs of the Republican and Democratic National Committees, respectively, with Mark Zandi, John Dickerson and Norah O'Donnell

CNN Fareed Zakaria "GPS": Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso

CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.), Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Plouffe

Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Plouffe, with Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, A.B. Stoddard and Juan Williams

NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with William Bennett, Tim Shriver, Donna Shalala and Tavis Smiley

-- Andrew Malcolm

Why wait until Sunday for politics? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share this item with friends.

Photo: British Prime Minister David Cameron inspects a Canadian Honor Guard in Ottawa on Thursday. Credit: Blair Gable / Reuters

Fox News/Google GOP debate becomes most-watched of the year -- on TV and the Web

Fox-News-Google-GOP-Debate-Chris-Wallace-Megyn-Kelly-Bret-Baier

The partnership between Fox News and Google/YouTube for the latest GOP presidential debate Thursday night proved very popular with both TV viewers and Web users.

Fox News racked up the largest ratings for a GOP debate yet this year, with 6.1 million total viewers, and 1.7 million in the target demographic: adults 25-54.

That's a big bump up in total viewers and in the advertiser-approved demo from the last debate, a partnership between CNN and the Tea Party Express on Sept. 12. That one gathered just under 3.2 million total viewers, and just over 1.1 million in the demographic.

The MSNBC/Politico debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Sept. 7 did 5.4 million viewers, but matched FNC in the demo, with 1.7.

Going back to the last FNC debate -- a partnership with the Washington Examiner -- in Ames, Iowa, on Aug. 11, that drew nearly 5.1 million viewers, with 1.4 in the demo.

To find the target demo dipping below 1 million, you need to go back to the....

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

   Beverly-Hills-Tea-Party-Thaddeus-McCotter
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."

RELATED:

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

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?

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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

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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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