Herman Cain talks Trump, other candidates during Dayton visit


Watch videos of Herman Cain's visit to Dayton at DaytonDailyNews.com

Conservative radio host Herman Cain said Donald Trump is tapping into the same voter dissatisfaction that fueled Cain’s own presidential campaign in 2012.

“I believe that Donald Trump’s appeal is partly the appeal that I had: Someone that would go to Washington, D.C., as president and shake things up,” said Cain, during an exclusive interview at the WHIO radio studios in Dayton on Friday.

“It’s the non-establishment outsider against the establishment insider. I think that’s what appeals to a lot of people,” said Cain, who was front runner for a time in the 2012 GOP race before withdrawing.

Cain, whose show airs on WHIO from 9 a.m. to noon on weekdays, said Trump taps into a group of angry people who believe their votes don’t matter.

“You get somebody who comes along like a Donald Trump, he is is attracting a lot of those non-voters, mad voters who felt as if nothing was going to change in Washington, D.C. And he’s appealing to a lot of independents,” said Cain.

He said independents like Trump because his focus isn’t social issues.

“You cannot ignore social issues but you cannot wear them on your forehead if you are running for office,” Cain said. “The fiscal issues are where we ought to start in fixing this country.”

Cain said that doesn’t mean he isn’t a strong believer in the importance of a solid moral foundation and the value of faith.

“There is a way to protect and fight for those values without it being the drum major for the parade,” said Cain. “The drum major for the parade has got to be, “Can I get a job? Can I take care of my family? Can I get a career and not just a job?’”

Cain has not endorsed anyone in the race but said three of the “Pick Six” he chose four months are at the top of the polls: Trump and U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

He said they are leading because people perceive them as having three essential qualities.

“They want a leader, a fighter and a winner,” Cain said.

His other three are former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. He said it isn’t that they lack those qualities, but it is that fewer people perceive that they have them.

As far as calling the race, in Cain’s view U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Carson won’t win, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are long shots, he doesn’t think former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum is very compelling.

Cain on Kasich

As for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Cain thinks he also doesn’t have much of a chance of winning, but not because of a lack of substance.

“John Kaisch. Smart. Good problem identifier and good problem solver. But the way he delivers his message is not connecting,” Cain said.

He said of all the candidates only Trump called him before deciding to run to talk to him about the ups and downs of a presidential race. He said one piece of advice he’s given Trump since the race began was to be the first out with a tax plan, but he’s disappointed that media focus has been less on Trump’s tax plan than on “the noise” and controversy about Trump.

Cain did radio show live from Dayton

Cain said he has no interest in running again, in part because it takes at least $2 million to launch a campaign, and because he feels like he has an impact as a political commentator. He was in Dayton to do his nationally syndicated show live from the studios of AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO radio and to take questions and talk about his new book before a live audience Friday night at the James M. Cox Innovation Center.

Cain said he likes to visit with people across the country at events like the one in Dayton.

“I call it Main Street USA,” said Cain. “The way you keep in touch with them is you’ve got to talk to them. You’ve got to listen to them.”

He said people still stop him and mention his “9-9-9” tax plan, which would have replaced all existing taxes with a 9 percent sales tax, a 9 percent personal income tax and a 9 percent corporate tax. He said the catchy title was no accident. His economic advisor Rich Lowrie, had run the numbers and told him he could produce revenue-neutral tax reform by levying 8.75 percent sales, personal income and corporate taxes.

“I said, ‘Rich, have you lost your mind? You want me going around the country talking about 8.75, 8.75, 8.75? I was a math major. Round up!” said Cain. “And it just grabbed people. 9-9-9.”

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