“They got it right with the Constitution. We don’t need to change the Constitution, we need to enforce the Constitution. It has stood the test of time,” Cain said. “Now some people want to make rules up as they go and that is not good for the future of this country.”
Following a Q-and-A session with student-submitted questions, Cain chose to conclude his visit with his famous, edgy quip about the power of one, borrowed from the Pokémon: The Movie 2000 closing credits song, to much delight from the audience,
“It’s never easy when there’s so much on the line, but you can make a difference,” Cain delivered, in a theatrical, dramatic way that only he could. “There’s a mission just for you. Just look inside and you will find just what you can do.”
Cain’s speech, impressive and engaging, even made an impression on non-supporters at the event.
“Despite my venomous disagreements with Herman Cain, I appreciate his welcoming and charismatic nature as a speaker,” said USF senior Nathaniel Gula as Cain posed for snapshots and shook hands with supporters flooding the auditorium’s center aisle. “It was delightful.”
A brief word with Herman Cain
Prior to the main event, Bulls Radio reporter Alex Dunn, along with numerous other student and professional correspondents, managed to engage in brief interviews with Cain.
Cain, slowly stirring the black tea and honey in his USF mug, seemed astoundingly comfortable in the interview environment.
Q: First off, what were, or are, your relationships like with the other republican candidates?
A: I have a very cordial relationship with all of the candidates, a respectful, professional relationship with all of them. With Governor Romney and Speaker Gingrich, we sort of had more of a friendlier relationship, just because I knew Governor Romney when he ran before, we had spent a little bit of time together. I have known Speaker Gingrich ever since he was Speaker of the House back in the early 1990s. Because I have known them longer and I had interacted with them other than in the presidential race, it was, you know, it was like seeing two old friends versus the others who I had never really spent a lot of time with. But it was always professional and respectful.
Q: What do you feel separated you from your competitors?
A: The thing that separated me from my competitors most was the [Pausing between each word] color of my eyes [Cain shares a laugh with the rest of the room] and the boldness of my ideas. Here’s an example.
I’m glad you all got that joke. I said that to a reporter once, and they looked at me like: “What color are your eyes?”
The boldness of my ideas. Let me give you an example: Senator Santorum actually said, in one of the debates, “9-9-9, that Herman is proposing, might sound cutesy, but it’s not something that we’d pass.” Well, you see, politicians propose things that they believe they can get passed, rather than propose ideas that fix the problem. That’s what separated me from the rest of the candidates.
Q: What convinced you to enter to world of politics in the first place?
A: America was on the wrong track. It’s still on the wrong track, it’s getting worse, even though we hear the contrary and I wanted to give the conservative republican voters another alternative in terms of candidates for president. That was what caused me to enter the world of politics, in that regard.
Secondly, when President Obama signed Obamacare, it was kind of like the straw that broke the camels back, because he forced that legislation through. He asked members of congress to walk the plank and some of them didn’t come back, because he was so determined to pass what he wanted and not what the people wanted. The day he signed it, a poll showed that nearly 55 percent of the American people did not think that that was the right solution for bringing down costs and increasing access. He forced that through because that’s what he wanted, and not because that’s what the American people wanted.
In other words, it ticked me off.
Q: Finally, what advice might you give to a student who might one day wish to run for office?
A: [He takes a dramatic moment] Don’t… [The room laughs] too soon. And what I mean by that is, make you some money first. A poor politician is tempted to become crooked. Get your career going. Establish yourself. Save some money, make some investments, learn what the real world is all about. Learn what corporate America is about. Learn what creating businesses and creating jobs is all about. So, develop a successful career first, then go into politics. Not only from the standpoint of building up some equity that you can fall back on in some way, but also from the standpoint that you really know how things really work in the real world.
People who get into politics early, well, they haven’t had the experiences that they can draw on. I have had, well, I guess I’ve had… This is my seventh career. Running for president was like the seventh career that I’ve had. Now, when I first got out of college, I thought I was going to have one. I was hoping for one career, work 35 years, get a gold watch and retire.
It doesn’t work that way anymore. I’ve actually had seven. Let me see if I can remember them: I started out as a mathematician and then I was a computer scientist with Pillsbury, then I became a business analyst. I’ve also been a restaurant executive, then I became the Restaurant Association CEO, then I became a Godfather’s Pizza CEO and became a radio talk show host… I never thought I was going to do all of that, but that’s what I mean by “the zigs and the zags” of your career, you know? It’s alright to have one thing that you think you want to do, but if something happens and it throws you off all the way over here, maybe that’s another opportunity.
And running for president. My life has taken a lot of turns, but they’ve always been good turns for the better. And the thing that I’m going to talk about today is: Don’t get all freaked out if your perfect job and your perfect path doesn’t happen perfectly all the time. And one of the other key principles that I always talk about in a speech is: When you make a decision to make a change in where you’re headed, never look back. Too many people second-guess themselves and when you second-guess yourself, you’re not putting all of that energy into moving forward and that’s one of the critical things about being able to be successful and a big part of success is what I call “happiness.”