Before the death of Andrew Breitbart caused my news cycle to bump 24 hours I had the pleasure of being on a conference call with Herman Cain who had included a group of bloggers in the launching of his new campaign for fiscal reform in government.

It had been suggested that one of the reasons it was necessary to bring Cain down was to stop him 9-9-9 plan. No single plan out there posed a bigger danger to the status quo for several reasons:

1. It was simple enough for everyone to understand how it work.

2. It would totally replace the current tax code in one swoop eliminating the hidden tweaks to the code that lobbyists have spent decades concealing in the code.

3. It would mean that any future attempt to put those tweaks back would have to take place in an internet age with hundreds of millions of eyes able to see the act and the votes of the congresspeople who were trying to get it passed.

Thus the establishment (both democrat and republican) breathed a sigh of relief when Cain was attacked with the full force of the MSM using charges whose substance were…interesting.

If the media thought that Cain and 9-9-9 were dead however they were mistaken. Cain has launched a new web site (Cain Connections) and talked about his intention to aggressively promote fiscal reform in general and 9-9-9 in particular.

He also released this commercial to talk about the stimulus and its effect on the economy.

He answered questions talking about various “microsites” to promote specific causes and themes talking but the big guns involved:

An April 16th Rally in DC coordinating with Freedomworks and tea party groups to push for change and a decision to promote 9-9-9 and congressional candidates who support it.

Cain stated that support of 9-9-9 was not a guaranteed endorsement for candidates, he would look at other positions as well but his group would co-operate with any candidate or congressman who was on the side of the plan.

I asked him if how he will push this forward as the media will do their best to ignore him. He answered that the media “hates 9-9-9 and wants to marginalize us” so he will be using him forums like new media and personal appearances to keep the pressure on.

Sarah Palin showed that one does not have to be in office to make a difference, anyone who bets against Herman Cain doing the same doesn’t know Herman.

Sgt. Matthew Luke Skidmore: Now listen to me Braks and hear me well. You told me yourself that you did that awful thing I wouldn’t believe it, but Braks, why did you run away?

Sgt. Braxton Rutledge: Because I walked into something none of us can fight…White woman business!

Sgt. Rutledge 1960

The Waco Kid: Hey Boys, look what I got here

Sheriff Bart: Hey where are the White Women at?

Blazing Saddles 1974

Today on Granite Grok there is a story on the occupod smoke bomb that was thrown at the White house. This quote caught my eye:

You know, I think this might be racism? Attacking the home of a black man and his family. Where’s Bill Mahr, Janeane Garofalo, hell the entire stenographer media, (and the NH Dead People Party) to disavow this uncivil act of racial prejudice?

Wait. My bad. They can’t feign outrage because they are probably all too busy holding a moment of silence like the one in honor of the guy who may have shot at the White house.

I found this an interesting because the NYT and Jessie Jackson are going on about racist republicans again.

Note that politically opposing this president is racism, but throwing smoke bombs or shooting at a White House occupied by a black president, no worries.

Of course when it comes to racial double standards all of this is small potatoes next to the events of October past.

You might remember a time when a black fellow by the name of Herman Cain was not only leading the field, but was driving the debate in a direction of a simplified transparent tax plan.

That could not be. If the GOP frontrunner is a black man who grew up in the segregated south the entire narrative is threatened.

People wonder why Herman Cain dropped out of the presidential race. Why didn’t he stand and fight? I wondered it myself. It wasn’t until I watched Sgt. Rutledge and remembered the generation that Mr. Cain was born into that I really understood.

1st Sgt. Braxton Rutledge: Anyone come, you ain’t gonna be in here with me.

Mary Beecher: What are you talking about?

1st Sgt. Braxton Rutledge: I’m talking about you. A white woman. White women only spell trouble for any of us.

Mary Beecher: That’s nonsense. We’re just two people trying to stay alive.

1st Sgt. Braxton Rutledge: Lady, you don’t know how hard I’m trying to stay alive.

Hopefully to a person born in the 80’s such talk might sound like nonsense, to a person born when I was (1963) it might bring thoughts of Blazing Saddles:

But to a person born before that time, a black man born in 1945. It’s something completely different. Look at this scene from Sgt. Rutledge, pay particularly attention from 2:36-3:47.

There is no single racist stereotype more pronounced than the black man threatening a white woman. It was the classic racial image invoked by those who wanted to maintain white supremacy. It’s been a club used against the black race for longer than I can remember. It cost Emmett Till (Cain was 10 at the time) and many others like him their lives. In cinema you saw it in Birth of a Nation and you saw the consequences in To Kill a Mockingbird. It is classic racism on a grand scale.

Yet not once while the Politico ran dozens of stories on the flimsiest of evidence, not once while Gloria Allred was fishing for accusers, not once when the entire liberal news media proclaimed him guilty and the late night comics made jokes did anyone look at what was happening and say:

Doesn’t anybody see a bit of Jim Crow here?

Of course they didn’t! Herman Cain is a conservative, he is a republican and when you accept liberalism as your religion and you make your living off of that meme not only do you stay silent in the face of that meme, you embrace it.

And that more than anything else is why Herman Cain, in my opinion, did not stand and fight, he saw the enlightened and tolerant media, to their disgrace, return to the worst days of his youth and saw a fight he believed instinctively, he could not win.

If they left is not ashamed of themselves they ought to be.

Update: I think Smitty misunderstands me. I don’t suggest that Herman Cain should play the race card, I’m suggesting a race card was played on Herman Cain, an old fashioned race card one liberally used against blacks.

While the WaPo tries to defend Herman Cain’s accuser, it doesn’t help much: by her own admission, Ginger White is used to getting money from powerful men:

“I’ve supported my kids,’’ [Ginger] White told [Leslie] Bennetts, “and I never wanted to let my kids go without. When I was having trouble making a payment on something, there was this powerful man saying, ‘I’ll help you out.’ I remember a time when I was looking for a job, and I became separated from my first husband, John, and somebody said, ‘All you have to do is get in front of the owner of this company, and he will give you a job, because you’re pretty. And he did. The owner offered me a job, and by the end of the day, he asked me out and said, ‘I can help you with some extra money.’ So that’s what happened, for probably six months or so. I wasn’t the only one he was ‘helping.’

For White, getting men to supplement her income that way “started becoming a game,” she said. “It was easy for me to get help like that. It makes you a bit cold. You have to be just as clever as they are, just as cold as they are, just as calculating as they are—and sometimes beat them at their own game. But I don’t want to be depicted as a woman who sleeps with men for money. I am not that woman.”

If she’s not a woman who sleeps with men for money, and Herman Cain gave her money, then it stands to reason that she did not sleep with Cain, no?  Even if she is used to being supported by men, that hardly means that Cain is among them; it only means that she’s the type of person to manipulate others so that she can get what she wants.

What remains to be seen is if the latest powerful man to pay off Ginger White is David Axelrod.

The day the Herman Cain allegations first came out I wrote this:

I have been going back and forth between Herman Cain and Rick Santorum in my mind for the last few weeks

I remember Lisa Graas took exception to that line thinking I was implying that Santorum was behind the stories (I wasn’t) but I suspect that she will be much happier with what I’m writing today.

The choice between Santorum and Cain was very hard for me. Cain was Tea Party and I thought 9-9-9 was vital as it changed the entire tone of the conversation to radical change for the tax system. Santorum’s own plan was not as good, but he has been a forceful and unambiguous voice for both social and fiscal conservatism. Even more importantly he has been unafraid to express Catholic truth without concern for MSM’s sensibilities.

Oddly one of the things that gave me pause about Santorum was (believe it or not) his faithful Catholicism, not because I didn’t approve, I approve greatly, but I found myself asking the question: “Am I supporting Santorum over Cain simply because he is a fellow Catholic?” Although, unlike the current occupant of the White House, he is eminently qualified for the position, as a person highly critical of the black community’s nearly blind support for Obama I certainly didn’t want to be emulating that based on religious kinship.

This is where the Cain allegations came in. They were an excellent chance to test out Mr. Cain in terms of how he handled adversity.

Now if the accusations were true, the best move would have been get it all out up front and move on, give the MSM no-place to go, if they were false the plan should have not only been an aggressive counter keeping a bulls-eye both on the media and on Obama, pointing out that the entire exercise was an excuse to keep the president’s dismal record off the front page. It’s always easier, of course to play Monday morning quarterback, but a president is going to deal with a lot tougher stuff than this, and if you think the MSM wanted to bring down the first credible Black GOP candidate, imagine how they would try to take him down once he was in office.

The Cain campaign’s final cash on hand suggests a well disciplined financial strategy, but their reaction to the charges suggested no credible recovery strategy at all. So he didn’t recover and his campaign ended. Did he decide not to fight back against calumny or did they decided to cut their losses because he knew the hand the press held? No matter the final result was the same.

One might say: “That’s not fair!” Well, so what? Life isn’t fair.

We’ve already seen that Santorum didn’t let his defeat and subsequent ridicule after his last senatorial loss stop him this time. Among the current candidates he is one of the few who have not had a surge of support, nevertheless he has not stopped working hard and campaigning all out.

As for the other candidates, Michelle Bachmann is a good choice but Santorum’s experience in the senate where it is tougher to get bills through trumps her experience in the house. Gingrich is a more than acceptable choice but he has baggage in terms of the establishment. Perry isn’t a bad fellow but he has run the worst campaign I’ve ever seen. Roemer willingness to go 3rd party and support for the occupods bothers me, Paul’s foreign policy is out of the 30’s. Huntsman let himself be talked into running by the MSM and Romney, although a much better candidate than 4 years ago, is a man whose principles I just don’t know.

So as of today my top three are Santorum, Bachmann and Perry but Santorum shines bright enough above the others that I am not shy about picking him as my candidate of choice.

This doesn’t change the fact that I will be able to support any of these candidates over Barack Obama come 2012 if they get the party’s nomination. Until then, my vote is Rick Santorum.

Update: Jazz Shaw who kindly links calls my endorsement “unenthusiastic” I beg to differ. The suggestion is that I’m settling for Santorum when it’s been clear for some time that he has been in my top-tier for a while. The title does not reflect any level of “settling” for Santorum, the vote was going to be him or Cain and it was just a question of making the call one way or another, the style is simply to explain why I waited and frankly I resented having the MSM decision to take down Cain making my decision for me.

Stacy McCain who I informed of my decision last night gives my call a much brighter shine, and next week on the show when I’m hopefully (despite the 8 lbs I’ve managed to shed this week) feeling better I suspect I will repeating it with more oomph as well.

Update 2: Linked by Don Surber and the Lonely Conservative, thanks but there seems to be some confusion. Didn’t I say that I’ve been going back and forth between Santorum and Cain? Isn’t this whole post about how I’ve been trying to figure out which choice to make and how Mr. Cain’s withdrawal made the choice for me? Didn’t that by definition make me a “undecided” rather than a “Cain Supporter?”.

Update 3:
Zilla links AND endorses

Herman Cain has made his decision; he is suspending his campaign.

Let’s remind everybody what I wrote last week:

Well if Cain knows they hold the cards (meaning he’s lying) the right move is a speech saying something along the lines of: “Unfairly or not these charges have raised questions with the voters and with so many other excellent candidates in our field to choose from I simply don’t have enough time to properly reassure voters before election day.” That’s the rub, in an internet age, particularly since the MSM will not abandon their curiosity at the door (as they have for Obama) there is no way the press can be kept from playing a winning hand, and if Mr. Cain doesn’t understand that Sarah Rumph notes his lawyer sure does.

Cain still maintains these allegations are false, but if that’s the case it was incumbent upon him to keep fighting simply so the media could not claim his scalp.

Update: If one has to pick the moment that changed things for Herman Cain, it was not the allegations so much as the debate with Newt Gingrich. Gingrich looked much stronger by comparison and that gave Cain’s supporters a place to go…and they went. Let’s not forget that Gingrich defended Cain when this first came up so Cain’s supporters were already disposed favorably to him.

But Michelle Malkin put it best.

Update 2: By suspending the campaign and starting something else Cain can move his sizable campaign chest into his new venture and it is that warchest more than anything else that will give Cain credibility to the other candidates as the race continues.

Update 3: Powerline nails it:

What happened to Herman Cain is what the Democrats intend to do to whoever the Republican nominee turns out to be. They know they can’t win a debate on the economy or on President Obama’s record, so they will do everything they can to distract the voters’ attention from those matters, which should be decisive, and instead turn the focus to the GOP candidate and his or her alleged foibles. If Republican voters allow that to happen by nominating a candidate with baggage that permits the Democrats to turn him into the next Herman Cain, it is all too likely that President Obama will be re-elected, with consequences that can hardly be overestimated.

I disagree that the democrats will be able to convince the American people to be more afraid of a GOP candidate than they are disgusted with Obama, but that’s the plan.

Do you remember just a few weeks ago when this Herman Cain ad came out?

It produced a direct attack by Bob Schiefferand this reaction from Morning Joe

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Well it’s 30 days later and while it appears the left has made the country safe from a conservative black republican it has not made the world safe from smoking in ads.

Am I seeing this correctly? MSNBC and Morning Joe are promoting not just smoking, but smoking, drinking and partying!

Now I think this is a funny promo, granted it reinforces the kind of tired and old competent woman surrounded by idiot men meme, that it pokes fun at the personas that Morning Joe has built for their people.

But isn’t it amazing that other than a few outlets this smoking ad doesn’t seems to promote the same level of outrage in the MSM?

I guess perhaps the outrage over Cain’s ad had more to do with who it helped than what it contained.

While I was lying sick in bed last night the team from Granite Grok provided some excellent coverage of Herman Cain’s event in Manchester NH and notices a very important point:

The volunteers, for the most part, are rather angry – not at Herman but what seems to be the media and the “dirty tricks” that seem to go along with every major campaign. One lady came down from Augusta, ME to be here to show support – her mood was as red as her jacket. Another, a teacher, was also here in support not happy with the current events.

This is actually pretty consistent with what Ann Coulter had to say yesterday:

White’s proof that she had a 13-year affair is that she has two of Cain’s books signed by him — one with the incriminating inscription, “Friends are forever! Everything else is a bonus,” and the other, “Miss G, you have already made a ‘big difference!’ Stay focused as you pursue your next destination.” (I know — filthy!)

If that’s proof of an affair, I’ve had thousands of them without even realizing it.

Also, White produced evidence that Cain had texted or called her cell phone 61 times during four non-consecutive months — but did not reveal what those texts said. (“Would you please return my lawn mower?”)

Again, if that’s proof of an affair, I’m having hundreds of them at this very moment.

This is the sort of evidence you get with an actual sexual predator: Bill Clinton’s accusers had gifts, taped phone conversations with him and a semen-stained dress.

Not a lot of there there, but this seems to be the way the game is played, Kevin Jackson at the Black Sphere rounds it out:

Let this be a warning to all black folks who may seek hire office that only Democrats don’t get vetted. The next black man who runs as a Republican should understand that he will be James Byrded, Rodney Kinged, and ultimately Clarence Thomased. There will be no stone unturned to find the dirt, even if they have to turn over the stone to plant the dirt.

The Grok Team’s video is here

but make sure you click over for the full story.

Captain Kirk: There must be something to do, something I’ve overlooked

Spock: In chess, when one is outmatched the game is over, Checkmate.

Captain Kirk: Is that your best recommendation?

Spock: I’m sor…,I regret that I can find no logical alternative.

Captain Kirk:   Not Chess Mr. Spock…Poker!

Star Trek: The Corbormite maneuver 1966

Patton: “Remember the words of Frederick the Great: ‘L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace!'”

George C Scott: Patton 1970

Evidence or lack of it not withstanding, the MSM and the blogosphere are all buzzing over the “impending implosion” of the Herman Cain Campaign. The specter of conventional wisdom is hanging over the head of the campaign like vultures over a dying man in the wilderness.

Considering the stress the Cain Campaign must be under (things are grim in NH today) it might be worth noting that we’ve seen this play before and recently too.

May 18th Jon Ward The Huffington Post: GOP Donors Deserting Newt Gingrich

May 18th My friend Tabitha Hale at Red State: Make room for the new guys, Newt. (take a look btw at the link, the first title was “New Gingrich flames out, worst POTUS launch in history)

June 9th Jonathan Martin Politico: The Newt Gingrich campaign implosion

June 9th Seeing Red in Arizona blog: Gingrich: Campaign implosion worsens

June 9th Chris Cillizza and Karen Tumulty Washington Post: Gingrich presidential campaign implodes (note the reverse of Tabitha Hale above, Tabitha a blogger/activist with an opinion started with a pejorative headline and instead published with less of an edge, our unbiased journalists of the MSM started with a factual headline “Gingrich senior aides resign” in the link and went pejorative.

June 9th JEFF ZELENY and TRIP GABRIEL New York Times: Gingrich’s Future in Question After Aides Quit en Masse

June 10th Brian Preston PJ Tatler: Why the Gingrich implosion is different from the McCain implosion in 2007, and how it relates to Gov. Perry

July 5th Zeke Miller Business Insider: Imploding Gingrich Campaign Raises Paltry $2 Million

July 6th My friend Robert Stacy McCain The Other McCain: I Bet Doug Hoffman Is Laughing Today

Looking at those headlines, from all kinds of sources, from a small blogger in Arizona to the “paper of record” you would judge that Newt Gingrich was all but finished and owed it to himself and the field to exit gracefully, and I can think of several people (Bachmann, Cain, Huntsman, Johnson, Paul, Perry, Roemer, Santorum and perhaps Romney) who wished he did just that. Instead of embracing convention wisdom he rejected it and currently finds himself at the top of the polls.

Meanwhile a rather competent Governor by the name of Tim Pawlenty took the opposite route, consider these stories:

Aug 5th Peter Ingemi The Conservatory: An Important Detail, and Pawlenty’s Last Stand

Aug 7th Fox News: Pawlenty: Iowa Straw Poll is Marker, Not a Must-Win

Aug 8th John McCormick Bloomberg News: Failure in Iowa Straw Poll Could Doom Pawlenty’s White House Bid

Aug 13 Zeke Miller Business Insider: Pawlenty Loses Top Advisor, Cancels Ad Buy Before Iowa Straw Poll

Aug 13 Peter Hamby CNN: Questions for Pawlenty after straw poll finish

Aug 13 Reg Chapman CBS Bachmann Gains Steam In Iowa, Pawlenty Loses It

Aug 14 IMTIYAZ DELAWALA and MATTHEW JAFFE ABC: Pawlenty Drops Out of Presidential Race After Disappointing Straw Poll Finish

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Note the Aug 7th comment by Pawlenty. He says explicitly that the Iowa straw poll is not a must win for him. In fact on my radio show that weekend Stacy McCain said this:

the Iowa republican part hosts this event at Ames, and the campaigns, each of the campaigns buys a place in the event and they bring their supporters too, tickets are for sale so it’s a fundraiser for the GOP of Iowa, but many Campaigns buy tickets for their supporters and hand them out, and so so as I said it’s viewed as a show of organizational strength. who has the money who has the manpower who has the volunteer enthusiasm to get the people out to the straw poll to vote for their candidate.

Yet despite this reality, Tim Pawlenty decided that he could not continue while other candidates who did much worse are still in play. Why? Because he embraced the conventional wisdom, followed the lead of the MSM and decided it was time to go. He was unwilling to fight for the votes he didn’t have.

And this brings us to Herman Cain.

Tim Pawlenty has a cerebral reputation, like Spock he’s playing chess and found himself checkmated. Herman Cain is more Kirk, he needs to play poker but Cain’s position is the reverse of Kirk’s. Herman Cain knows if his foes have the cards, or if they’re bluffing.

So what does he do? Well if Cain knows they hold the cards (meaning he’s lying) the right move is a speech saying something along the lines of: “Unfairly or not these charges have raised questions with the voters and with so many other excellent candidates in our field to choose from I simply don’t have enough time to properly reassure voters before election day.” That’s the rub, in an internet age, particularly since the MSM will not abandon their curiosity at the door (as they have for Obama) there is no way the press can be kept from playing a winning hand, and if Mr. Cain doesn’t understand that Sarah Rumph notes his lawyer sure does.

Now if he knows they’re bluffing it’s a different ballgame. In that case he is absolutely foolish to abandon the race.

It’s plainly clear that the majority of the GOP and Tea Party base simply don’t trust Mitt Romney, they see him as the candidate of the GOP establishment candidate who they don’t trust and the current front runner Speaker Gingrich is only a hop, skip and jump from the same problem and while other candidates have not surged your frugal use of campaign cash assures your ability to hang in there.

I am not a political consultant, but if you are going to fight, here is what I think you do:

1. Go on the offensive, point out that these accusations started when the subject turned to tax reform and your 9-9-9 plan. Point out it’s not you they are after, it’s the specter of real reform. Tell the voters it isn’t the media out to get you, but the status quo.

2. Do a couple of small tea party events: Interact with the average voter, answer their questions not the MSM. If you convince them what NBC/CNN/MSNBC/ABC/CBS says means squat, their viewers and readers are not your target audience. Winning them will win their friends and more importantly make a difference in their social networks.

3. Do lots of local media: For smaller papers it would be a big get and they are more likely to give you show your campaign some deference to get the interview. (DaTechGuy on DaRadio on WCRN would be an excellent choice btw). All politics is local, make that work for you.

4. Play up conservative stories: Operation fast and furious, and the calls for Eric Holder to resign are ignored by the MSM, every time you answer a question from them should include a reference to this. Force those ignored stories into the mainstream. It will make you many friends among the voters you need.

5. Hit local dems at every stop In any location you are in bring up the name of any democratic Representative and or Senator currently in congress that represent that location. Link them to president Obama and call them out on the lack of a democratic budget. Every time you do that you help the entire ticket and win friends.

6. MEND FENCES WITH FRIENDS: You need to talk directly to people like Dan Riehl, Ladd Ehlinger, Robert Stacy McCain and anyone else who the hardcore conservative voter reads and believes. Be straight with them, acknowledge the mistakes the campaign has made. All of these people want to beat Obama and want a true conservative alternative. Give them a reason to believe that person is you.

7. Take the advice I’ve been giving you for weeks HIRE JIMMIE BISE or ROBERT STACY McCAIN or whoever they recommend (Sarah Rumph?). Put them in charge of new media and DO WHAT THEY ADVISE. Facebook, twitter and the social networks are the battlefield where you can turn this around. Bypass the MSM.

In this business perception becomes reality, but if you are strong enough and bold enough and have right on your side you can change that perception. People are looking for leadership and someone willing to fight. My own vote is still available. If you want it then fight for it and don’t give up until the math says otherwise.

The choice is yours. Make the right one.

Update: two sixes should have been one.

Stacy McCain and Ladd Ehlinger are both friends of mine, their views on Herman Cain are diametrically opposed.

Ladd is a blunt speaker and his not one to BS his readers, I thank his complaints about the campaign seriously. As both he and Stacy are much more shall we say “worldly” than me I’ll have to let them decide about Cain’s social life.

Stacy being the reporter notes the exculpatory evidence, myself I note the pattern, first “harassment” then “an affair” but the evidence on both batches are pretty light.

However if Mr. Cain is in fact doing as poorly as the media suggests why play another card?

I say it’s very simple, this is the internet age, where is the recording, where is the cell phone video?

As I’ve said before, if Cain is telling the truth, he can expect these attacks to continue.

If he is lying then he can expect a “blue dress” or the digital equivalent to come out, furthermore consider for a second, how stupid or how egotistical Herman Cain has to be if this accuser is telling the truth. If they had an affair for the length she is saying, even if Ladd Suggests he is only out to sell a book, wouldn’t this run be the height of Gary Hart stupidity?

However there is one more twist. It is no secret that Robert Stacy McCain is on the Cain train and has been for a long time, that being they case why am I reading this?

Accusations by hyper-litigious bankrupt divorceés? No biggie.

Leaving me off a key conference call? That could be serious trouble.

Why on earth would you leave a reporter who has been strong in his support and advocacy for you off such a call?

Granted he has a lot on his mind but even if you end up marrying someone else spare a kind word for the lady who gave you a date when nobody else was interested.

That’s not the Sicilian way.

Yesterday I went to Nashua New Hampshire to cover Herman Cain at an event in the Radisson Hotel. I arrived about an hour early to get a look at the layout and decide where I was going to place myself. It was a real study in contrasts from previous events.

I met Herman Cain for the first time at CPAC 2011, I knew at the time Stacy McCain really liked this guy and he gave me two minutes outside of bloggers row:

At the time I declared him an “acceptable” candidate for president but didn’t think much more of it. At CPAC you see a whole lot of people.

I first covered Herman Cain proper in March of this year while I was still at my old blog. That encounter was at Joey’s Diner in Amherst during his 6th visit to Ne. He spoke to a small room, maybe 25-30 people as I recall (you couldn’t fit much more in that room) I was pretty much the only “press” there at the time and I scored this interview:

There was a prophetic moment in that first interview:

“What that did was it told, it confirmed what we suspected is it confirmed what we suspected that the awareness of Herman Cain at the grass roots level was much greater than a lot of people realized especially the mainstream media…”

Later that day he spoke in Nashua at the Crowne Plaza Hotel as the keynote speaker for Reagan Day Reception.

There was a fair crowd but it was for an event independent of Mr. Cain, some folk took pictures of and with him but it didn’t indicate a groundswell at the time.

Herman posing with fans

As you can see it was MUCH easier to get to Herman Cain in those days.

When Mr. Cain opened his Manchester Office In August 19th of this year I was there (in fact my Ethernet cable still is)

It was a small place and once again the voters had intimate access,

Herman Cain with supporters Aug 19th opening of his Manchester NH HQ

NH State Rep Steve Smith came out for Cain

There was a small gaggle of cameras and it was not difficult to get a question in during the event.

He also hinted at his economic program that would become known as 9-9-9.

There is always the danger of judging a candidate based upon his events so when I returned to Nashua for the Tea Party Express/Palin event I asked the folks at the Red Arrow Diner who have seen many pols come and and spot a phony at 30 paces, go what their impression of Mr. Cain was. They told me that like Hillery Clinton he was attentive and personable taking time and an interest in what was being said. This was a good sign for Mr. Cain.

Not long afterwards came the Florida Straw poll and the sudden rise of Herman Cain from the pack to front runner and contender. At the Dartmouth debate Herman Cain was the hot ticket in the room.

The media was all over Cain and more importantly he was sucking so much oxygen out of the room that something had to be done, and Politico attempted to do it, rather in artfully and when a week of vagary failed to move the polls Gloria Allred was enlisted to try to move the polls.

Alas as Cain’s fundraising continued unabated as apparently for unknown reason the GOP base distrusts the MSM objectivity on this subject. In fact it wasn’t until candidate Rick Perry brain freeze that Mr. Cain was moved off the front burner.

So yesterday we came full circle. Herman Cain in Nashua New Hampshire, less that 100 days after his previous visit and the differences were astounding:

You had much more staff that was considerably more organized and you had a touch of security too.

Note the security to the left

Any of the two rooms or the hallway was larger than the area of the campaign HQ in Manchester:

I don’t recall country stars opening for him at the previous events either

Buddy Jewel opening for Herman Cain in Nashua 11-17-11

Most importantly was both the quantity of the press, (there were more press present at this event than supporters at the opening of his HQ three months ago) and the quality of press as well:

Note the photographer on the right, I first met him at the Tea Party Express Palin event, he has taken shots of those who matter for magazines and newspapers nationwide for decades and today he was there to practice his art on Herman Cain.

The critiques of the MSM didn’t effect the willingness of NH State reps to back him:

and more importantly it didn’t stop undecided voters from coming down to check him out men:

and women

This is the critical factor. The poor media coverage has not caused undecided voters to dismiss Cain in the way some in the media have . And when those people see Cain then tend to like him.

When he finally took the stage, a bit late (a candidate lateness seems inversely proportional to his standing in polls doesn’t it?) he seemed to draw energy from the crowd

and the crowd seemed very interested in what he had to say:

His speech was solid, his direct attack on the occupy movement and his acknowledgement of a “leadership” crisis really hit home

And his contention that a simplified tax code is a danger to the establishment, but it was the responsibility of the voter to “hold their feet to the fire” played extremely well

This is where the strength of Herman Cain and the weakness of the media plays out. The media took a sound byte and played it up, in fact I was tweaked on twitter by Dave Weigel for missing the “leader not a reader” byte, but New Hampshire doesn’t vote on sound bytes, they don’t have to. New Hampshire voters get to see the candidates close up and hear what they say directly and what they don’t hear in person, they can hear in full without the MSM filtering it.

It’s a retail politics state and Herman Cain seems ready to make the sale as typified by the last video I shot that day of two ladies who have been backing Cain for a while.

I found their reaction typical of the Cain supports I talked to.

Thus the evolution of the Cain campaign, from the back of the pack to front runner and contender, will it continue? I must admit some informed bias here. There were two moments that struck me personally at this event, take a peek at the opening video.

at the :33 second mark he notices me, looks into the camera and acknowledges me. The second was at the end of the speech.

The second came when he left the state at the end it’s at the 2:10 mark

“Hey, Pete you can’t predict me”

I was not wearing a name tag, my business card was not visible and doesn’t have my name on it, Herman Cain meets literally tens of thousands of people a day. This was the 6th time he has seen me in his life and yet he not only acknowledged me before he started he answered me by name.

Granted the hat helps a bit here, but consider, I have not like Stacy McCain endorsed his candidacy, nor have I kicked in a penny or have I encouraged others to do so to his campaign, yet he remembered me and treated me with respect.

Multiply that time thousands of folks he has encountered and that add up to a force stronger than the MSM’s ability to bring him down. How do you counter that kind of impression with a snarky sound byte, you can’t.

And that is the final word on the evolution of Herman Cain, he has evolved in size and stature at his events, his campaign has become more professional and less spontaneous, but he has on a personal level, remained the same person he was back at Joey’s Diner on a March afternoon in Amherst New Hampshire.