Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Herman Cain spreads conservative message at USF: 'Focus on the mission'

TAMPA — Herman Cain has a message for conservatives disappointed to have Mitt Romney as their presidential nominee.

"Get over it. And focus on the mission," the former presidential contender told about 150 students at the University of South Florida on Thursday.

That mission is to ensure Republicans maintain control of the U.S. House, win a majority in the Senate and defeat President Barack Obama.

People lament to him regularly that their favorite candidate isn't the nominee, and he sympathizes: "Mine isn't either — me."

Cain, 66, dropped out of the presidential race in December, amid allegations of sexual harassment and infidelity — which he denied. He has kept a high profile, traveling the country and touting his "9-9-9" tax overhaul (9 percent flat tax on household income, a 9 percent corporate tax and a 9 percent national sales tax).

On Thursday he spoke at USF and to the Republican Women Federated. He is scheduled to address the Hernando County Republican Party tonight.

Cain backed Newt Gingrich after dropping out of the primary but told the Tampa Bay Times he will work hard to help Romney now that he's the presumptive nominee.

Is he enthusiastic about Romney?

"I am very supportive, and I have said all along whoever gets the nomination, I will work hard to get that person elected. To say enthusiastic, that could mean a lot of things," Cain said, suggesting that Romney still has work to do to fire up the GOP base.

"He's going to have to do some healing and unifying. It's going to be work, but then he has surrogates out there like me and others to help in that regard."

Cain charmed the USF crowd with a largely nonpolitical speech about his rise from poverty to corporate success. Have a dream and set goals, he urged the students.

The USF College Republicans have only about 20 active members, and Cain offered some advice for spreading the conservative message across campus: "Don't waste your time with people who have liberal tendencies in the DNA. Save the saveable."

The accusations of infidelity and harassment seem to still sting. Cain said he dropped out of the race because "false allegations and lies … were tearing my family apart."

"In the court of public opinion, all they have to do is plant doubt,'' the onetime GOP frontrunner said. "The people who said I did certain things — they can't prove it. So how do I prove I didn't? ... If somebody said I was with them and had an affair, do I have a picture of me not being there? You can't disprove a negative."

Romney has some strong options for vice president, Cain said, mentioning Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation; and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Herman Cain spreads conservative message at USF: 'Focus on the mission' 04/26/12 [Last modified: Thursday, April 26, 2012 10:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General


    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  2. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  3. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays scored that many in a single game during their two-plus week numbing stretch of offensive impotency, and in a home game in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  4. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.
  5. Police pull unconscious New Port Richey man from SUV in Cotee River


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Police rescued an unconscious driver whose sport utility vehicle plunged into the Cotee River on Saturday.