Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No longer campaigning, Herman Cain contributes to Republicans

Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate, speaks to an audience at CMU on
Sept. 25, 2012.
Herman Cain
In his deep, rumbly Southern baritone voice, Herman Cain asks me, "What part of Michigan are we in, here?"

I stop shooting photos of him. I point on my hand, representing lower Michigan, where Mount Pleasant would appear on a map.

"Ah, okay."

The former Republican presidential candidate barely garnered a crowd at Plachta Auditorium in Central Michigan University's Warriner Hall. Central Michigan Life reported that an estimated 300 people attended Cain's speech, which lasted for about a hour.

The same number of people were reported to have attended CMU president George Ross' State of the University Address Sept. 13.

“The economy sucks,” Mr. Cain said to the audience. “We have the ability. Our (gross domestic product) … is one-fourth of the world’s GDP. If you get the GDP growing faster, it will be better for us, and it will be better for the rest of the world.”

The decline of Herman Cain's prominence as not only a prominent candidate for presidency but respect for his political views, has been realized in the past year. As allegations surfaced and surrounded Mr. Cain at a time when his candidacy was seriously vetted by politicians and voters and led President Barack Obama briefly in polls, his campaign stumbled.

Mr. Cain could do nothing but stumble on out of the campaign race to become the next president. In an interview with media after his speech, he signified a degree of importance with which the Republican party regards him. Mr. Cain is on tour, the College Truth Tour. In a seemingly experimental ploy to win young votes and generate conversation among young voters, the tour not only involves the political rhetoric, but musical notes. The band Quietdrive performed before and after Mr. Cain's speech.

Then, when Republicans have a chance, they ask Mr. Cain to be their eyes and ears.

"Mr. Romney and I have met several times," Mr. Cain said. "Each time he asks me, 'What are you seeing out there? What are people saying?'"

It wasn't only left for the professional politicians to venture into the merky waters that the sexual allegations against Mr. Cain have created. None of the allegations have been proven. The CMU chapters of College Republicans and College Democrats debated the virtues of inviting Mr. Cain to speak on campus.

“I think it is disgraceful that the College Republicans would invite a sexual predator onto CMU’s campus,” said Alex Middlewood, president of CMU College Democrats about the allegations that led to the disruption of Mr. Cain's candidacy.
Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate, cleans his glasses before speaking at CMU on
Sept. 25, 2012.

Megan Gill, president of CMU College Republicans, defended her decision to invite Mr. Cain to speak on campus.

“Obviously, there has been allegations against Cain which prohibited him from continuing his presidential campaign,” said Gill, a Traverse City senior. “But I think Cain brings a valuable perspective as a business man and a presidential candidate. I think we need to bring important politicians and important speakers to campus, so students can observe for themselves and make their own judgements. We shouldn’t let allegations stop students from forming opinions for themselves.”

Yet applause from the audience during Mr. Cain's speaking points revealed something: he still had opinions that the majority of people could agree with.

"The economy sucks," Mr. Cain said, which was followed with applause.

Mr. Cain also encouraged students to vote and be responsible about making their choice while voting in November.

"Stupid people are ruining America," Mr. Cain said. "Don't be among the stupid."

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