Herman Cain was my guest on today’s show. His position on the Marriage Amendment surprised, but his candor is refreshing on that and all other questions. The transcript:
HH: Pleased to welcome now to the Hugh Hewitt Show Herman Cain. Herman Cain, welcome, it’s great to have you on.
HC: Hey, Hugh, I’m happy to be on. I didn’t think that you were going to have me on this quick after we saw each other in Des Moines. I only wanted one mea culpa.
HH: Well, I already told the audience that you would be beating up on me today because of my oft-stated opinion that is now in ruins, that you were not a serious candidate.
HH: But you’re number three in the Iowa poll, Herman.
HC: Yes, I am. And here’s one thing that you don’t hear a lot of people talk about when they’re reporting on that result. The story has been Romney and Bachmann. That is a big story. But the story that people are missing, Hugh, is the fact that they have twice the name ID that I have, and so do most of those other people that are polling behind me. So I am nothing but optimistic about being in third place, given that I have half the name ID of the frontrunners.
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HH: Well, Herman, you are definitely showing how wrong I can be, but let’s make sure people know that you’re running a money bomb today, tomorrow and Wednesday as well. How do people participate in that?
HC: The way to participate in the money bomb is that they go to www.therealleader.com, or they go to www.hermancain.com. It’s www.therealleader.com, www.arealleader.com, or www.hermancain.com. Either way, they can participate in the money bomb. And let me tell you, it’s already starting to have a big impact. And see, this is one thing that a lot of people are starting to realize. All of the other candidates, Hugh, they have war chests, or they have deep pockets. I don’t have deep pockets, even though I was a successful businessman, and I certainly don’t have a Congressional or a gubernatorial war chest that I can roll over to this campaign. But the good news is a lot of people recognize that, and I’m getting a lot of online contributions at www.hermancain.com. So we’re going to be fine.
HH: All right, now Herman Cain, I want to start, before we do issues, with some biography. Tell us about Lenora and Luther.
HC: Lenora Cain was my mother, who was a domestic worker. Luther Cain, Jr., was my father, who was a barber, a janitor and a chauffer. And they didn’t start with much. Both of them walked off of a farm at the age of 18, different farms, but they walked off with literally nothing. And they basically pursued their American dream, and they achieved it. And my dad worked three jobs as a barber, a janitor and a chauffer in order to be able to save enough money to buy that little house that he wanted. So my parents gave me great values, and great inspiration that has allowed me to pursue my American dream. And I owe a lot to them for getting me to believe in three fundamental things – my belief in God, my belief in myself, and my belief in the greatest country in the world. And one of the reasons I’m running for president, Hugh, is because this country has gotten off track. And I want to do everything that I can to get it back on track, so that my grandkids, your grandkids, and all of those little faces out there will have an opportunity like we had.
HH: And tell me about Luther. Was he a disciplinarian?
HC: He was a disciplinarian in a very nice way. He’d smile at you while he’s telling you he’s getting ready to give you a whipping. It didn’t changed the whipping, but at least he was smiling when he told you that. Yes, he was a disciplinarian, and he had high expectations for my brother and I. It was just one brother that I was raised with. But he was a disciplinarian, but in a very loving way. But more than that, Hugh, he also led by example, he lived by example, and he taught us a lot of things by example, more so than lectures.
HH: Now Herman, you went to Morehouse College, and then on to Purdue to get your Master’s. It’s sad you couldn’t go to Ohio State, but a Big Ten school nonetheless.
HH: How did you miss the 60s? You’re right there, and you’re not a hippie. You’re not a drug using, anti-war demonstrating…you’re working for the Navy, in fact.
HC: That’s exactly right. When I got out of Morehouse, I had, look, when I grew up, we had a very humble, economic situation. My parents just worked real hard. They used sweat equity to get what they wanted to do, and this type of thing. So I had a materialistic dream when I was growing up. I wanted to make some money. And in order to make some money, I didn’t have time to be a hippie. I didn’t have time to be running around doing a lot of this other crazy stuff. My focus was not on being a hippie in the 60s. It was focused on making me some money, starting my career, and letting all those others that wanted to be hippies, that they could do that. So I didn’t get caught up in that. And I think a lot of it had to do, again, with my parents, Luther and Lenora Cain.
HH: How did you miss the Black Power movement, and the Panthers, and all that stuff?
HC: Well here again, by going to Morehouse College, we didn’t really miss the Black Power movement. We just didn’t get overly caught up in the Black Power movement, because Dr. Benjamin Mays of Morehouse College, he said that’s all well and good, but you’ve got to make sure that you keep things in their proper perspective. So I credit Dr. Mays for inspiring all of the young men of Morehouse, and I was a student there when he was president, that sure, the Black Power movement was all well and good, but don’t get caught up in that, because that’s not going to be your key to success. Black Power, black identity is a great thing. But he also reminded us that your ability, educationally, was going to be a big key into what you were going to be able to do in this country.
HH: How did the Civil Rights movement impact your life, Herman Cain?
HC: The Civil Rights movement impacted my life in that number one, I was growing up in Atlanta as a young man before the Civil Rights movement got heated, during the Civil Rights movement, and immediately after the Civil Rights movement. And what, the way it impacted my life is that I lived that example of how this country can change if it wants to. We had a great leader. This nation had a great leader in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He didn’t just lead black people. He led this entire nation and the world to change hearts, so that we could change our minds, and then change our laws. So I saw the power of great leadership through the Civil Rights movement, and what Dr. Mays was able to do.
HH: Now President Obama has got near unanimous approval ratings in the African-American community, Herman Cain. You’re going to be one of the few black men out there saying bad things about him this time.
HH: To what do you attribute that, given just the terrible record he’s amassed in office?
HC: Well, first, I want to take issue with you, Hugh, on he has this overwhelming approval rating in the black community. No, he does not. I just don’t think that they have done the poll yet to show that I believe, based on my anecdotal feedback, feedback that I get from people that I run into at the airport or when I’m traveling, he doesn’t have that approval rating like he used to. I happen to believe that he probably might still have 60% approval rating from the black community, but I’ve got to be honest with you. I don’t think that that’s going to hold, because contrary to what a lot of liberals think, a lot of black people are thinking for themselves, and they recognize the failure of this president and this administration. And I even had some black people say to me that they have voter’s remorse. They’re not going to vote for him just because he’s black this time around. They’re going to vote for somebody that they believe that can get this country back on track.
HC: A real leader.
HH: www.arealleader.com. You got me all messed up here.
HH: I want people to be in on the money bomb, because I’ve got penance to do, obviously.
HC: All right. www.arealleader.com will put you directly on the money bomb.
HH: All right, www.arealleader.com.
HH: Now you went to work out of Purdue for Coca-Cola, then Pillsbury. You took over the Burger King division before you got to Godfather.
HH: So you worked in some of America’s most successful corporations.
HH: How was racism in those corporations? Or does talent win out in America?
HC: Well, you know, obviously racism is still there. I started my business career in 1967. And that was just a few years after the Civil Rights Act of 1963.
HH: 1964, I think, yup.
HC: That’s right, 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
HC: And so I went into corporate America to climb the corporate ladder before it was cool to have a black guy as a vice president. And I was able to do it. And you know how I did it, Hugh? I never looked back at race. If someone in the organization had a problem with my color, rather than looking at my performance, I simply allowed it to be their problem and not mine. Yes, I had to deal with it, but I never had a situation that I could not deal with. And as a result, I was more focused on my performance. And what I learned doing that, in that experience, is that if your performance exceeds those that you are competing against, and exceeds the performance of the people around you, people stop looking at the color of your skin, and they start looking at the content of your character, and they start looking at the content of your ideas.
HH: Did you run into any racists at any of those companies?
HC: Yes, I did.
HH: How did you deal with them?
HC: Well, what I did, dealt with them was I was never in a situation where I had to deal with them directly or head to head. They may have been in the same organization, but they were not like my supervisor or immediate boss, or anything like that, so I just basically allowed them to have a problem with me. I didn’t have a problem with them.
HH: Is racism pretty much gone in America, in your opinion, Herman Cain?
HC: Racism is not gone in America, unfortunately. It’s better than it was in the 60s, but it could be a whole lot better. And here’s why it could be a whole lot better. Quite frankly, the liberals play the race card, because they have very little else to play when they want to try and attack conservatives, or attack somebody like me who considers themselves, I consider myself an American black conservative. Logic and facts don’t support the liberals’ point of view. So they can only use the tactic of name-calling, and as a result, they selectively play it, which stirs this whole race card thing, and creates racial tensions that really don’t need to be there.
HH: Now Herman Cain, one of the individuals I admire most in the country is Justice Thomas, Clarence Thomas.
HH: And he’s again under assault from the New York Times in a totally made up way. Why the animus towards him on the left?
HC: Because the left, they hate the conservatives in this country. What he went through during his confirmation, I will never, ever forget. And the reason they do it is because they just, you know, being a liberal is in their DNA. They can’t help themselves, and so they’re going to go after Thomas, they’re already coming after me. And here’s the thing. Not only…few white liberals are coming after me directly, but some of them are coming after me indirectly, you know, like Jon Stewart, just to name one. But then you have a lot of black liberals that are coming after me directly. But you know what, Hugh? In the words of my maternal grandfather, in his vernacular, all of this name-calling? I does not care.
HH: Has Jon Stewart had the guts to have you on his show yet?
HC: No, he hasn’t. I’m waiting for him to invite me onto his show.
HH: Do you think he’s afraid to do that?
HC: I don’t think he’s afraid. I think he will invite me on. He really will.
HH: All right.
HC: And I believe that we will have a very valid interchange. Look, I don’t think Jon Stewart is a racist for what he said and how he mocked me, about the statement I made about the three page bills. The joke is on him, because if he really thought that I was serious about all bills are only going to be three pages, then he didn’t get the joke. So I think that he’s going to have me on, but I think that he is, his bigger concern is the fact that I am a black conservative, they don’t know how to deal with somebody who carries that label, and that might be his biggest hesitation for having me on.
HH: What do you think about the media generally? Let me put it this way. Who do you admire in the mainstream media?
HC: Who do I admire in the mainstream media? Can I call you back tomorrow?
HC: No. (laughing)
HH: You can have the rest of the week. It may take that long. You bet.
HC: (laughing) Well, you know, depending on what you call mainstream media, first of all, let me just be very blunt. And I’m not real good at being politically correct. ABC, CBS and NBC, I consider to be the mainstream broadcast media, okay? I don’t have a lot of admiration for those organizations, generally speaking, because their bias is so evident in terms of their liberal leanings. It is evident. Secondly, just look at the exposures that I have gotten on those stations now that I’m starting to show up in the polls. I can tell you, I know you’ve been busy, but they haven’t had me on. But I’ve been on Fox. Even CNN broke down and invited me on to be on one of their shows. Go figure. But ABC, CBS, and NBC? No. Now to their credit, NBC is supposed to cover my announcement of my economic vision coming up this Wednesday, that I’m going to be doing in Greenville, South Carolina. Now that being said, they were supposed to have me on once before, and they cancelled at the last minute. So when they have me on, I will do a mea culpa to NBC.
HH: All right, back to, a couple of biographical things. You are a minister at the Antioch Baptist Church?
HC: Correct. I’m an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta, Georgia.
HH: Now if I were to talk to the congregation, how would they characterize Herman Cain’s preaching? Are they falling asleep on you?
HC: Well, no they wouldn’t characterize it that way.
HC: As we say in the Baptist church, what my members would say is that I can bring it. That is a preaching term, which means that first of all, they know that I’m sincere. Secondly, I have been able to connect to people with my sermons, and they have a lot of respect for me. And you know what’s interesting, Hugh, is my church has a congregation that exceeds about 13,000 members. They know my heart. So they don’t look at me as a Republican. Some of them look at me as a conservative, but they respect me, because they know my heart. And here’s the thing that…this is one of those anecdotal situations that has contributed to me believing that Barack Obama is not going to get the overwhelming amount of the black vote, and that is they are beginning to agree with me, and they come and tell me this, because of the way I explain things to get them to open their eyes. And that is a very good sign.
HH: Herman Cain, are you a literalist when it comes to Scripture?
HC: A literalist? How do you define…
HH: You know, like seven days means seven days as opposed to seven epochs, that sort of thing.
HC: No, because here’s how I explain it. What…even though the Bible says that the world was created in seven days, we don’t know what a day was on God’s clock. So I take it as it was a day, whatever length God wanted it to be.
HH: All right. Now I do want, before we run out of time, to talk to you about the Muslims in government stuff, because the media keeps coming back at you on this.
HH: Why don’t you rearticulate what your belief is about whether or not Muslims can serve in the government.
HC: First, throughout my career, I have hired the best people for the job, irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity or anything like that. That has been my mantra. I did say, in answer to a question, when I was asked would I be comfortable with Muslims in my administration, I said honestly, no. I didn’t say that I wouldn’t have them in my administration, but I did say I wouldn’t be comfortable, and here’s why. There is an element in the Muslim community that is trying to impose Sharia law in this country. I am adamantly opposed to Sharia law. And I believe American laws for American courts. In Oklahoma, as an example, they even passed a resolution saying Oklahoma laws in Oklahoma courts. And CAIR, the Council of American-Islamic Relations, got an injunction to try to stop it. And I’m just simply saying I’m going to be very cautious, and to make sure that people don’t try to sneak Sharia law into our government. I believe in the Constitution, period.
HH: Will it be one standard for all appointees?
HC: It’ll be the same standard for all appointees. Do you believe in the Constitution of the United States of America, and can you be loyal to the Constitution of the United States of America.
HH: Last question, Herman Cain. Gay marriage is now a fact in New York. What did you make of that decision? And do you support a Constitutional amendment to return marriage in the United States to one man and one woman?
HC: We have the Defense of Marriage Act, and I don’t believe in a Constitutional amendment to try to let…let the states do what they are doing. Some states are going to pass gay marriage laws, but I like the Defense of Marriage Act, which says just because one state will allow it, you can’t impose it on another state at this particular point. And I strongly support the Defense of Marriage Act, which has been around since 1996.
HH: But not a Constitutional amendment?
HC: Not a Constitutional amendment, no.
HH: Herman Cain, it’s great to have you on for the first time. I look forward to having you back. My apologies. Next time, we’ll talk about why the Fair Tax is such a bad idea, Herman.
HC: I would love to have that debate with you, Hugh.