PENTAGON CITY, Va. — Republican presidential candidate and businessman Herman Cain, who has been surging in the polls and is now a top-tier candidate in the 2012 GOP presidential contest, appeared at a Northern Virginia Costco for a book signing.
With former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin having decided not to run for president, Cain now finds himself running a wholesale, buzz-generating, unconventional campaign that Palin herself would have attempted.
Cain told HUMAN EVENTS that those who enthusiastically supported Palin would find much in common with his candidacy, especially his penchant for going around the traditional political system.
“Please take a look at Herman Cain…we have a lot in common, we share a lot of the same ideas,” Cain said. “And just like Sarah, i’m not afraid to challenge the status quo.”
Many who were in line at Costco to get their books signed by Cain told HUMAN EVENTS that they wanted Palin to enter the race but now are supporting Cain.
Elaine Brown, a stage 4 cancer survivor who came from Culpepper, Virginia, said she liked Cain because he was not a career politician and had a business background.
“He is not a politician, I like that about him,” Brown said. “He solves problems, I like that.”
Brown, though, said that because of Cain’s business dealings, he also “understands Wall Street,” but she added that “I think he understands business, I think he understands the people.”
Anthony Riley, a Costco employee who works book signings, said that the enthusiasm for Cain’s event was greater than that for former first lady Laura Bush’s book signing in 2010.
Costco employees told HUMAN EVENTS that more than 500 books were sold and, as evidenced by Gallup polls that have shown Cain’s “positive intensity” score to be the highest among all the other candidates’ scores, those who got their book signed seemed much more enthusiastic and excited than at typical book signings held at Costco.
“I haven’t seen this much intense excitement since Hillary Clinton’s book signing,” Riley said, noting that Northern Virginia residents lean more to the left politically than the rest of Virginia and the country.
This is a testament to Cain’s contention that his supporters will not “defect” and more proof of his belief that his message, particularly his “9-9-9” plan can transcend race and geography.
After the book signing, Cain called Laurence O’Donnell’s haranguing interview with him the night before “absurd.” In that interview, O’Donnell hectored Cain, in a show that many felt was offensive, for not participating in the civil rights movement as much as O’Donnell felt he should have.
“It was as ridiculous as me asking him, ‘What were you doing when you were in kindergarten?,” Cain said. “His attempt failed in my opinion.”
And while Cain said that his path to the nomination is to win South Carolina or Florida, after placing in the top-three in Iowa and New Hampshire, some have argued that Cain should be spending more time in Iowa, capitalizing on his recent surge to try and win one of the early states outright.
On the other hand, Cain’s national book tour could increase his name identification even more and set him up for a two month blitz of retail campaigning.
As he answered questions underneath a “Costco Wholesale” banner, Cain told HUMAN EVENTS that the retail campaigning that he had done before his Florida straw poll win allowed his message to start cutting through.
“I’ve been doing retail politics even before I have declared [my candidacy],” Cain told HUMAN EVENTS. “We’ve already been doing retail politics, and that is why my message has been resonating.”
As he was boarding his bus after completing his book signing, three little girls ran up to Cain and asked him if he would invite them to the White House if he won. Cain stopped to speak to them, as the girls smiled widely.
“Of course,” said Cain, whose book is titled, This Is Herman Cain! My Journey To The White House, showing his wholesale and retail political skills.