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. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  2. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests


    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]
  3. Man convicted of second-degree murder in killing of Baby Doe, his girlfriend's daughter


    BOSTON — A man was convicted Monday of murder in the death of a 2-year-old girl who became known as Baby Doe after her remains washed up on the shore of a Boston Harbor island.

    Michael McCarthy’s friend Michael Sprinsky, far left, gets a hug from sister Laura Sprinsky after McCarthy is found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Bella Bond, who became known as Baby Doe.
  4. Rays make Hechavarria trade official


    Here is the release from the team ...


  5. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)