After Alex Wagner interviewed the smiling, uber-self-assured Herman Cain on her MSNBC show last Friday, I made a bold pronouncement. The former Godfather’s Pizza chief who scuttled his presidential campaign amid a swirl of sexual harassment and infidelity allegations could be getting back into the race.
He has a Web site. He has a bus “with my picture on it.” And he’s only suspended his campaign. As The Post reported when Cain made the announcement just 37 days ago, “ ‘Suspension’ has no legal meaning under Federal Election Commission rules, meaning Cain could continue to raise contributions and spend money until declaring a formal end to the campaign.” I know, it sounds crazy, but we’re talking about Herman Cain, people!
“Mr. Cain, as a voter now and no longer a candidate, do you think that Mitt Romney is the best hope for the Republican Party,” Wagner asked at the start of the interview, “or are you a member of the ‘Anybody but Mitt’ crowd?”
WAGNER: Mr. Cain, as a voter now and no longer a candidate, do you think that Mitt Romney is the best hope for the Republican Party or are you a member of the “Anybody but Mitt” crowd?
CAIN: No, I’m not a member of the “Anybody but Mitt” crowd. I’m a member of the solutions crowd.
WAGNER: Is that an endorsement?
CAIN: No, it’s not an endorsement. Alex, I’m going to make an announcement of an endorsement on Thursday before the South Carolina primary. But let me warn you, it will be an unconventional endorsement, underscore the word ‘unconventional.’ And here’s why. My priority is helping to solve America’s problems. Putting solutions on the table.
WAGNER: Next Thursday, you’re making the endorsement. I invite you cordially to make that endorsement on “NOW with Alex Wagner”. . .
CAIN: Now, Alex, you’re missing something and that is I said, “unconventional.” Unconventional endorsement so Thursday at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference I’ll be giving a keynote speech and I’m going to make my unconventional endorsement. Look, Alex, I have been the unconventional candidate that has put unconventional, bold ideas on the table that are resonating with the people. “9-9-9” is the example and later I’m going to have an energy plan that I’m going to put on the table for energy indepedence. So my focus and priority, Alex, is on solutions because I happen to believe that solutions and focusing on solutions will raise the hope, expectations of the American people that it is not just all of the political banter.
WAGNER: Mr. Cain, saying the word “unconventional” over and over again would seem to be not an endorsement. It would seem to be the implication there would be maybe not Mitt Romney. Do you think he’s too much of a conventional candidate? Do you think Mitt Romney is conventional?
CAIN: I believe that ALL of the remaining candidates are conventional. So, I’m saying my endorsement would be unconventional. That is an adjective that I’m applying to the word “endorsement,” not to any particular candidate.
Let me be your guide through this Cain thicket of head-scratching pomposity. He says the endorsement he’ll make before the pivotal South Carolina primary will be — all together now — unconventional. This applies, he says, to the nature of his endorsement and not to the remaining candidates, who he said were “conventional.” But then Cain goes on to extol his virtues as an “unconventional candidate” who proposed the dubious “9-9-9” plan.
In an e-mail this morning, I ran my bold pronouncement by J. Hudson, assistant to Herman Cain. “Am I crazy?” I asked. “His endorsement is unconventional,” was his only response.
Today, Cain brought his “unconventional endorsement” talk to the ladies of “The View.” Just as Wagner had, they urged him to make his announcement on their show. “I want my endorsement to be a part of a bigger message,” he said.
What could be bigger than “I’m back”?