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10 Things You Didn't Know About Herman Cain


We've all heard about his 9-9-9 plan, but what else do you need to know about the new GOP presidential front-runner?

Nine-nine-nine. By now, everyone should be more than familiar with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's proposed tax plan, because we've heard him repeat his catchy proposal ad nauseam across the entire media spectrum. But there's more to Cain than just a contentious economic plan. Given that his surge in momentum in the presidential race shows no signs of abating, we can expect Cain to be hot on the list of water cooler topics for some time to come. Need to build up on your reserve of Herman Cain factoids? Here are 10 things you didn't know about the new Republican front-runner.

1. Cain's not a greenhorn in politics.
"I'm not a politician," Herman Cain has asserted before. But that's not exactly true. Cain's been involved in politics for 15 years, starting when he served as a senior economic advisor to the Dole/Kemp presidential campaign in 1996.

2. Cain's not the best at choosing the right horse to back.
Speaking of his experience in politics, Cain hasn't had a very successful record. First, the Dole/Kemp ticket he supported failed in 1996, of course. Then, Cain also contested the 2000 Republican primary nomination for a short time, before pulling out and endorsing Steve Forbes. In 2004, he ran for the Senate seat in Georgia but lost in the primaries.

3. He believes in lucky numbers.
Herman Cain has a thing for numbers, specifically, for the number 45. In his newly published autobiography, I Am Herman Cain! (more books should have exclamation points in their titles), Cain devotes an entire chapter to this number, saying that it popped up so many times in his life that there had to be some significance behind it. Cain, of course, was born in 1945, and he writes, " '45' keeps on popping up as I go about the business of being elected -- you guessed it -- as the forty-fifth president of the United States of America."

4. The appearance of Cain's autobiography on the New York Times bestsellers' list was propped up by his own purchases of the book.
It's a common practice for presidential candidates to use their campaign funds to buy their own books to distribute to supporters, but Cain got into a spot of controversy because, although his autobiography was published by a subsidiary of Simon & Schuster, he paid $36,511 to his own company, T.H.E. New Voice, for the books.

"All candidates publish books and they offer them as premiums to donors, but most candidates aren't buying them from their own companies. It raises the question of his campaign contributions ending up in his own pocket," said Bill Allison, editorial director of Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group that tracks campaign funds, reported Bloomberg.

5. !!!
In case you didn't already realize from the title of his autobiography, Herman Cain is a big fan of the exclamation mark. In the book's first chapter alone, there are 16 of them. Cain is nothing if not excitable.

6. Herman Cain is a John Lennon fan.
When he was the CEO of Godfather's Pizza, Cain performed a song titled "Imagine There's No Pizza" at the Omaha Press Club show in 1991. Sample lyric:

Imagine there's no pizza
I couldn't if I tried
Eating only tacos
Or Kentucky Fried
Imagine only burgers
It's frightening and sad...

Check out the video of him singing here and decide for yourself if he's American Idol-ready. (Cain's song begins at 3:00.)

7. He is a Tiger Woods fan as well (maybe not anymore, we presume).
After his failed 2004 run for the US Senate, Cain advocated for the Republican Party to begin grooming the golfing superstar for a 2016 presidential run. In a 2006 speech, he said, "Tiger has one objective when he steps up to the first tee -- win. The Republicans desperately need a candidate who will not seek personal legacies through political victories that compromise conservative ideology and increase the scope of federal government. Tiger's legacy is already set." Another thing we can establish from this is that Cain is most definitely not a fortune-teller.

8. He is definitely part of the 1%, but he didn't start out there.
According to the Daily Caller, Cain is worth between $2.9 million and $6.6 million based on his financial disclosure documents. Cain, who now resides in Atlanta with his wife, Gloria Cain, earned in the region of $1.1 to $2.1 million in 2010 and 2011 combined, not too shabby when you consider that he's mostly been making his living as a motivational speaker these past couple of years.

To be fair, Cain came from humble beginnings. He grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, in a working-class household. Before he began his high-flying executive career, he worked as a civilian ballistics analyst in the Navy. One thing's for sure: Cain has kept alive for his two children and three grandchildren the American dream where children will be more prosperous than their parents.

9. Godfather's Pizza doesn't taste good.
Curious to get a taste of Godfather's Pizza now that Cain's brought the brand into the national spotlight? Maybe you should think again about that: Politico ran a blind taste test of the franchise's offerings with a panel of political and culinary experts and the verdict was not good.

"It looked bad, it tasted bad, it just wasn't what you want from a slice of pizza," said culinary expert Nycci Nellis.

10. He loves likening himself to food products.
Perhaps it's not too surprising given his background in the F&B industry, but Cain's seemingly a big fan of food analogies. First, he compared himself to Haagen-Dazs black walnut ice cream because, like the ice cream flavor, he wasn't just a flavor of the week and was here to stay. Then, he revealed in his autobiography that during the citizen band radio fever in the 1970s, his handle was "Cornbread." Cain joked that that would also be his Secret Service codename (news outlets like the New York Times have noted that Cain's use of such racially inflected humor has caused a minor uproar).

(See also: Is the 9-9-9 Tax Plan Simply Elegant or Plain Ridiculous? Seven Views)

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