Is Citizen Cain going to become Candidate Cain, again?
Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain suggested as much before a gathering of conservatives in New Orleans, the same spot where he kicked off his presidential run four years ago.
“I do not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future,” Cain told the crowd at the Republican Leadership Conference. “And I trust in God.”
Cain briefly was the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2011 before reports surfaced that he was accused of sexual harassment while head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. In the aftermath of the allegations, Cain dropped out of the race.
Cain has parlayed his short-lived presidential bid into a much more heightened media profile, including a nationally syndicated radio show and a broad presence.
The former pizza CEO will face a much different landscape if he runs in 2016. Cain was popular at rallies and debates in 2011, but RNC chair Reince Priebus has already taken steps to limit debates so that this year’s presidential campaign cycle does not turn into “a clown show.”
And Cain would also face a field likely to include leading lights like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz in it, which would generate less enthusiasm for someone whose career has been primarily as a businessman and media personality. Indeed, his announcement, or hint of one, seemed to take activists at the RLC by surprise. Enthusiasm here has been high for possible presidential bids of neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Rep. Allen West, who, like Cain, are conservative African-Americans, but don't have the same baggage.