Herman Cain

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Herman Cain
Cain in October 2011
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
In office
Preceded by Burton A. Dole, Jr
Succeeded by A. Drue Jennings
Deputy Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
In office
Preceded by Burton A. Dole, Jr
Succeeded by A. Drue Jennings
Personal details
Born December 13, 1945 (1945-12-13) (age 65)
Memphis, Tennessee, US
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Gloria Cain (m. 1968–present) «start: (1968-06-23)»"Marriage: Gloria Cain to Herman Cain" Location: (linkback://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Cain)[1]
Children Melanie Cain
Vincent Cain
Residence Sandy Springs, Georgia, US
Alma mater Morehouse College (mathematics, 1967)
Purdue University
(masters, computer science, 1971)
Occupation Business executive
Radio host
Religion Baptist[2]
Website hermancain.com
This article is part of a series about
Herman Cain

Herman Cain (born December 13, 1945) is an American business executive,[3][4][5] syndicated columnist, and radio host from Georgia. He is the former chairman and CEO of Godfather's Pizza from 1986 to 1996. Cain served as deputy chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City from 1992 to 1994, and as chairman from 1995 to 1996.[6] Before his business career, he worked as a mathematician in ballistics as a civilian employee of the United States Navy.[7][8] Cain was president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association from 1996 to 1999.[9]

Cain ran for public office several times, including a campaign in 2000 for President and 2004 for Senator, neither of which were successful. In May 2011, Cain entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.[10] Initially dismissed by mainstream media, Cain unexpectedly surged in Republican primary polls in October 2011, and became one of the leading candidates for the nomination.[11][12][13]



Family life

Herman Cain was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Lenora Cain (née Davis), a cleaning woman and domestic worker, and Luther Cain, Jr., who was raised on a farm and worked as a barber and janitor, as well as a chauffeur for Coca-Cola president Robert Woodruff. Cain has said that as he was growing up, his family was "poor" but "happy". Cain related that his mother taught him about her belief that "success was not a function of what you start out with materially, but what you start out with spiritually". His father worked three jobs to own his own home — something he achieved during Cain's childhood — and to see his two sons graduate.[14][15][8]

Cain grew up on the west side of Atlanta, Georgia, attending school and Rev. Cameron M. Alexander's Antioch Baptist Church North in the neighborhood now known as The Bluff. Eventually Cain's father saved enough money and the family moved to a modest brick home on Albert Street in the Collier Heights neighborhood. He attended Archer (public) High School, graduating in 1963.[16]

Cain married Gloria Cain (née Etchison), of Atlanta, soon after her graduation from Morris Brown College in 1968.[17][18] His wife of 43 years is a homemaker, who also served stints as a teacher and a librarian.[17] The couple have two children and three grandchildren.[19]

In 2006, Cain was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in his colon and metastases to his liver and given a 30-percent chance of survival. Cain underwent surgery and chemotherapy following the diagnosis, and has since reported that he is in remission.[20]

Disclosures filed during his campaign in 2011 categorized Cain's wealth as of that time as being between $2.9 to $6.6 million, with Cain's income for both 2010 and 2011 combined being between $1.1 to $2.1 million.[21]

Education and honors

Cain grew up in Georgia[22] and graduated from Morehouse College in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics.

Accepted for graduate studies at Purdue, Cain received a Masters in computer science there in 1971,[23] while he also worked full-time as a ballistics analyst for the U.S. Department of the Navy.[24]

Cain received the 1996 Horatio Alger Award[25] and has received honorary degrees from Creighton University, Johnson & Wales University, Morehouse College, University of Nebraska, New York City Technical College, Purdue University, Suffolk University, and Tougaloo College.[26]

Religious life

Cain serves as an associate minister Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta, which he joined at the age of 10.[27] The church is part of the National Baptist Convention, USA[28] and is "a bastion of liberal activism", where the church's senior pastor, Rev. Cameron M. Alexander, reportedly does not share Cain's political philosophy.[29][30]


After completing his master's degree from Purdue, Cain left the Department of the Navy and began working for The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta as a computer systems analyst. In 1977, he moved to Minneapolis to join Pillsbury,[31] soon becoming director of business analysis[32] in its restaurant and foods group in 1978.[33][34]

At age 36, Cain was assigned in the 1980s to analyze and manage 400 Burger King stores in the Philadelphia area. At the time, Burger King was a Pillsbury subsidiary. Under Cain, his region posted strong improvement in three years.[35][36] According to a 1987 account in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Pillsbury's then-president Win Wallin said, "He was an excellent bet. Herman always seemed to have his act together."[33] At Burger King, Cain "established the BEAMER program, which taught our employees, mostly teenagers, how to make our patrons smile" by smiling themselves. It was a success: "Within three months of the program's initiation, the sales trend was moving steadily higher."[37]

Cain's success at Burger King prompted Pillsbury to appoint him president and CEO of another subsidiary, Godfather's Pizza. Cain arrived on April 1, 1986, and told employees, "I'm Herman Cain and this ain't no April Fool's joke. We are not dead. Our objective is to prove to Pillsbury and everyone else that we will survive."[38] Godfather's Pizza was performing poorly, and had slipped in ranks of pizza chains from 3rd in 1985 to fifth in 1988.[39] Under Cain's leadership, Godfather's closed approximately 200 restaurants and eliminated several thousand jobs, and by doing so returned to profitability.[40] In a leveraged buyout in 1988, Cain, Executive Vice-President and COO Ronald B. Gartlan and a group of investors, bought Godfather's from Pillsbury.

Cain became a member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in 1992.[6] He served as deputy chairman from January 1, 1992 to December 31, 1994; and he served as its chairman from January 1, 1995 to August 19, 1996,[6] when he resigned to become active in national politics.[41] Prior to serving on the bank's board, he served as Chairman of the bank's Omaha Branch Board, from January 1, 1989 to December 31, 1991.[6]

Cain left Godfather's Pizza in 1996 and moved to Washington, D.C., to become CEO of the National Restaurant Association, a trade group and lobbying organization for the restaurant industry, on whose board of directors he had previously served. Cain's lobbying work for the Association led to a number of connections to Republican lawmakers and politicians.[40]

Cain was on the board of directors of Aquila, Inc. from 1992 to 2008, and also served as a board member for Nabisco, Whirlpool, Reader's Digest, and AGCO, Inc.[42][26][43]

After Cain's term with the restaurant advocacy group ended in 1999, Cain returned to Omaha for about a year, moving to his hometown of Atlanta in 2000.[44]

Media work


A sometime gospel vocalist, Cain performed on the 13-track album Sunday Morning released by Selah Sound Production & Melodic Praise Records in 1996.[45]

"Imagine There's No Pizza"

Cain performed "Imagine There's No Pizza", a gospel-flavored parody of the John Lennon songs "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance", at an Omaha Press Club event in 1991. A video of this performance became popular during his 2012 campaign. Prior to performing the song, Cain offered the following introduction:

One of the wonderful things about living in America is the freedom we have to laugh at ourselves. In fact, we have so many freedoms that it is easy to sometimes take them for granted. So it is helpful sometimes to try and imagine what it's like if we were to lose some of those freedoms.

Cain performed the song with female backup singers while he wore white preacher's robes. The song begins with the lyrics:

Imagine there's no pizza / I couldn't if I tried / Eating only tacos / Or Kentucky Fried.[46][47][48][49]

Columns and publications

Cain writes a syndicated op-ed column, which is distributed by the North Star Writers Group.[50]

Cain's notable works include:

Cain wrote "The Intangibles of Implementation" in the technical journal Interfaces (Vol. 9, No. 5, 1979, pp. 144–147), published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

Media appearances

Until February 2011, Cain hosted The Herman Cain Show on Atlanta talk radio station WSB, a Cox Radio property.[51]

Cain appeared in the 2009 documentary An Inconvenient Tax.[52]

Political activities

Role in the defeat of 1993 Clinton health care plan

Cain publicly opposed the Clinton health care plan of 1993. As president-elect of the National Restaurant Association, he challenged Bill Clinton on the costs of the employer mandate contained within the bill and criticized its effect on small businesses. Bob Cohn of Newsweek described Cain as one of the primary opponents of the plan:

The Clintons would later blame "Harry and Louise", the fictional couple in the ads aired by the insurance industry, for undermining health reform. But the real saboteurs are named Herman and John. Herman Cain is the president of Godfather's Pizza and president-elect of the National Restaurant Association. An articulate entrepreneur, Cain transformed the debate when he challenged Clinton at a town meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. Cain asked the president what he was supposed to say to the workers he would have to lay off because of the cost of the "employer mandate". Clinton responded that there would be plenty of subsidies for small businessmen, but Cain persisted. "Quite honestly, your calculation is inaccurate," he told the president. "In the competitive marketplace it simply doesn't work that way."[53]

Joshua Green of The Atlantic has called Cain's exchange with Clinton his "auspicious debut on the national political stage".[54]

Conservative politician and former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp was so impressed with Cain's performance that he chartered a plane to Nebraska to meet Cain after the debate. Cain credits Kemp with his becoming interested in politics.[55]

Senior advisor to 1996 Dole campaign

Cain was a senior economic advisor to the Bob Dole presidential campaign in 1996.[56]

2000 Presidential campaign

Cain briefly ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000; he says it was more about making political statements than winning the nomination. "George W. Bush was the chosen one, he had the campaign DNA that followers look for." However, Cain went on to state, "I believe that I had a better message and I believe that I was the better messenger."[57] After ending his own campaign, however, he endorsed Steve Forbes.[58]

2004 U.S. Senate candidacy

In 2004, Cain ran for the U.S. Senate in Georgia and did not win in the primaries. He was pursuing the seat that came open with the retirement of Democrat Zell Miller. Cain sought the Republican nomination, facing congressmen Johnny Isakson and Mac Collins in the primary. Cain and Collins both hoped to deny Isakson a majority on primary day in order to force him into a runoff.[citation needed] Collins tried to paint Cain as a moderate,[59] citing Cain's support for affirmative action programs, while Cain argued that he was a conservative, noting that he opposed the legality of abortion except when the mother's life is threatened.[60] Cain finished second in the primary with 26.2% of the vote, ahead of Collins, who won 20.6%, but because Isakson won 53.2% of the vote, Isakson was able to avoid a runoff.[61]

2005–2011 work for Americans for Prosperity

Starting in 2005, Cain worked for the Koch family funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP) alongside Mark Block. Block would later become campaign manager for Cain's 2012 Presidential run and would be joined in Cain's campaign by several other AFP employees. Cain continued to receive honorariums for speaking at AFP events until he announced his campaign for the Republican nomination.[62] Cain's senior economic advisor during his 2012 presidential campaign, Rich Lowrie, who helped devise Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan, had served on the AFP board. [63]

Herman Cain has enthusiastically embraced the Koch brothers, who have funded his campaign. According to Cain, "Just so I can clarify this for the media, this may be a breaking news announcement for the media: I am the Koch brothers' brother from another mother; yes. I'm their brother from another mother! And proud of it!" Cain has been accused of violating campaign finance laws by accepting money from a nonprofit affiliated with the Koch brothers and Mark Block. Nonprofits are not allowed to spend money on presidential campaigns.[64]

2006 Republican ad campaign

In 2006, Cain voiced several radio ads encouraging people of color to vote Republican; the ads were funded by a group called America's PAC and its founder J. Patrick Rooney. These ads were criticized for making use of racial stereotypes, such as one in which one black man refers to black women as "ho's". That ad also claimed that Democrats didn't care about black infants because they support legalized abortion. Another ad attempted to link Democrats to white supremacist David Duke, since Duke opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The ads stirred controversy in the communities in which they ran. [65]

2012 presidential candidacy

Cain speaking at the Ames Straw Poll in August 2011.

In 2010, "Cain addressed more than 40 Tea Party rallies, hit all the early presidential states, and became a YouTube sensation."[22] On September 24, 2010, Cain announced that he was considering a run for president in 2012 on the Republican Party ticket[66]. In December, Cain was the "surprise choice" for 2012 GOP nominee in a RedState.com reader poll.[22] Cain announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee on January 12, 2011,[67][68] and officially announced his candidacy on May 21 in Atlanta.[10]

A popular speaker, Cain's addresses to conservative groups have been well-received,[69][70] and in late September and early October 2011, Cain won straw polls in Florida, Illinois, and at the National Federation of Republican Women's Convention.[71][72] "My focus groups have consistently picked Herman Cain as the most likeable candidate in the debates," says GOP pollster Frank Luntz. "Don't underestimate the power of likability, even in a Republican primary. The more likeable the candidate, the greater the electoral potential."[73][71]

In July 2011, an advisor suggested that his campaign's tax policy plan be called "the Optimal Tax", but Cain rejected the name, saying "[w]e're just going to call it what it is: 9-9-9."[74] The plan would replace the current tax code with a 9-percent business transactions tax, a 9-percent personal income tax, and a 9-percent federal sales tax. During a debate on October 12, Cain said his plan "expands the base," arguing that "[w]hen you expand the base, we can arrive at the lowest possible rate, which is 9-9-9."[75] An analysis released to Bloomberg News by the campaign claimed that the rate for each of the three taxes could in fact be as low as 7.3%, but "poverty grants" — which Cain has described as a lower rate in targeted "empowerment zones"[76] — necessitated a national rate of 9%.[75] Paul Krugman has criticized the plan, saying it shifts much of the current tax burden from the rich to the poor.[77] Arthur Laffer,[74] Lawrence Kudlow,[78] the Club for Growth,[79] and Congressman Paul Ryan[80] have spoken favorably of "9-9-9". On October 21, Cain told a crowd in Detroit that the plan would be 9-0-9 for the poor, saying that "if you are at or below the poverty level … then you don’t pay that middle 9 on your income."[81]

Sexual misconduct accusations

In October 2011, Politico reported that two female employees had complained about inappropriate behavior by Cain during his tenure at the National Restaurant Association. The women reportedly accepted financial settlements from the association which barred them from discussing their allegations further.[9] Cain's campaign initially refused comment,[82] but subsequently acknowledged that the accusations had been made.[83] Cain strongly denied any impropriety, stating: "I have never sexually harassed anyone and those accusations are totally false." He initially denied being aware of any financial settlement with the accusers, but later accepted that some form of payment had been made by the Restaurant Association.[84] He described the allegations as a "witch hunt".[85][86] In an interview with Greta van Susteren, Cain further said that the allegations had been investigated and found baseless. He said one of the specific allegations was making a gesture indicating his wife's height by holding his palm flat, which one of the accusers found objectionable.[87][88] On November 8, 2011, one of the first two women to accuse Cain was identifed as Karen Kraushaar, a registered Republican employed at the US Treasury Department.[89] On November 3, 2011, it was reported that a third woman had stated that Cain had commented on her attractiveness and invited her up to his corporate apartment.[90]

According to The New York Times and Bloomberg News, at a November 7, 2011 press conference, a fourth woman, registered Republican Sharon Bialek, made allegations of a sexual assault in Cain's car in the summer of 1997. At the time, Bialek had recently lost her job at the National Restaurant Association where she had been a subordinate of Cain's, and she was asking him for assistance in either getting her job back or finding a new job. She alleged that, following a dinner meeting to discuss her job search, Cain reached under the skirt of her suit for her genitals and pushed her head toward his crotch. When she questioned his behavior, Bialek said, Cain told her, “You want a job, right?” Bialek has sought legal assistance from lawyer Gloria Allred.[91] At the press conference, Allred showed what she said were two affidavits from people testifying that Bialek had told them of the incident at the time. The affidavits were not released to the press.[92] Cain's campaign team promptly denied the accusations, claiming them to be "completely false", and repeating that he "never harassed anyone".[93] At a press conference on November 8, 2011, Cain said of Bialek, “I don’t even know who this lady is.”[94]


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  66. ^ Pappas, Alex (September 24, 2010), "Herman Cain, former Godfather's Pizza CEO, is contemplating 2012 run", The Daily Caller, http://dailycaller.com/2010/09/24/herman-cain-former-godfathers-pizza-ceo-is-contemplating-2012-run/, retrieved September 24, 2010 
  67. ^ Travis, Shannon (January 12, 2011) "Herman Cain talks to CNN on announcing presidential exploratory committee", CNN. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  68. ^ Bernstein, David S. (January 12, 2011) 'Avoiding the "First Primary'?", The Boston Phoenix. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  69. ^ Tony Norman, Obama and Cain: are you hearin' the difference? Pittsburg Post-Gazette September 27, 2011
  70. ^ Scott Baker (February 12, 2011). "Did Herman Cain Give the 'Don't Miss' Speech at CPAC?". Theblaze.com. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/did-herman-cain-give-the-dont-miss-speech-at-cpac/. Retrieved August 6, 2011. 
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  72. ^ First Read – Cain wins another straw poll
  73. ^ Riley, Jason L.. "Cain's Post-Racial Promise". The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203388804576614962556506804.html. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  74. ^ a b John D. McKinnon, Cain Plan's Reagan-Era Roots The Wall Street Journal October 14, 2011
  75. ^ a b Steven Sloan and Richard Rubin, Cain Reveals 9-9-9 Math With Projection of No Revenue Loss Bloomberg News October 13, 2011
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  77. ^ Paul Krugman, Cain Unable The New York Times blogs October 15, 2011
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  79. ^ Seth McLaughlin, Club for Growth defends Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan Washington Times Inside Politics October 14, 2011
  80. ^ John Rossomando, Paul Ryan ‘loves’ the idea of Herman Cain’s tax plan October 13, 2011
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  82. ^ Shear, Michael (October 30, 2011). "Report Cites Women’s Claims of Inappropriate Acts by Cain". New York Times. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/30/report-cites-womens-claims-of-inappropriate-acts-by-cain/. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  83. ^ Shear, Michael (October 31, 2011). "Cain Admits Being Accused of Harassment". New York Times. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/31/cain-campaign-prepares-for-scrutiny-of-harassment-allegations/. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  84. ^ The Economist. "Sex and Pizzas". November 5, 2011. Accessed on November 7, 2011 at: http://www.economist.com/node/21536610
  85. ^ Shear, Michael; Jeff Zeleny (October 31, 2011). "Cain Calls Harassment Issue a 'Witch Hunt'". New York Times. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/31/cain-campaign-prepares-for-scrutiny-of-harassment-allegations/. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  86. ^ Epstein, Reid (October 31, 2011). "Herman Cain on allegations: I’ve been 'falsely accused'". Politico. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/67233.html. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  87. ^ http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/67755.html
  88. ^ "Cain details gesture that led to sex accusation". http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/cain-details-gesture-led-sex-charge. Retrieved October 31, 2011. 
  89. ^ NPR. "Earlier Cain Accuser Is Republican, Longtime Government Employee" November 8, 2011. Accessed on 11/8/11 at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2011/11/08/142134820/earlier-cain-accuser-is-republican-longtime-government-employee?sc=nl&cc=brk-20111108-1313
  90. ^ BBC News, November 3, 2011, "Third woman claims inappropriate behaviour from Cain" Accessed on November 7, 2011 at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15566388
  91. ^ Lerer, Lisa (November 7, 2011). "Cain Denies New Sexual Harassment Claims". Bloomberg News. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-07/cain-accused-of-sexual-harassment-by-ex-restaurant-group-employee-bialek.html. Retrieved November 7, 2011. "Cain, she told reporters, reached under the skirt of her suit for her genitals and pushed her head toward his crotch, after a dinner meeting to discuss her job search. “You want a job, right?” Bialek said Cain told her when she questioned his behavior." 
  92. ^ Michael D. Shear; Trip Gabriel (November 7, 2011). "Woman Accuses Cain of Lewd Behavior; He Denies It". The New York Times. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/07/accuser-details-lewd-behavior-by-cain/. Retrieved November 7, 2011. "Ms. Allred said Ms. Bialek approached her last week to come forward and tell her story. Ms. Allred showed what she said were two affidavits from friends of Ms. Bialek’s testifying that she had told them of the incident at the time. Ms. Allred did not release the affidavits to the press." 
  93. ^ http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-11-08/cain-denies-claim-he-groped-woman-seeking-his-help-in-job-hunt.html
  94. ^ Washington Post. "Herman Cain: Sharon Bialek’s charges are ‘baseless, bogus and false’". November 8, 2011. Accessed on 11/8/11 at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/herman-cain-addresses-sharon-bialeks-charges-as-he-meets-the-press-in-arizona-on-tuesday/2011/11/08/gIQATeB01M_story.html?wprss=rss_homepage

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Business positions
Preceded by
William Theisen
President and Chief Executive Officer of Godfather's Pizza
Succeeded by
Ron Gartlan
Preceded by
Burton A. Dole, Jr
Deputy Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
Succeeded by
A. Drue Jennings
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
Preceded by
William Fisher
President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Restaurant Association
Succeeded by
Steven C. Anderson
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