By Matt Lewis
On Wednesday, ex-Godfather's Pizza CEO and popular conservative radio host Herman Cain announced an exploratory committee for president. Today, he spoke with me about his potential run.
Cain promises an ambitious agenda if he is elected president, saying: "I plan to mobilize the public -- to not just stop stuff, but to get stuff done."
Saying "transparency starts with simplicity," Cain added he will "never sign a 2,700-page bill as president of the United States."
While Cain is an unabashed pro-life social conservative who believes in traditional marriage, he clearly sees the economy and national security as the most pressing issues on which to focus his time. As he told me:
I will not sign any legislation that is going to weaken traditional marriage, but I am not going to make getting a constitutional amendment on traditional marriage the centerpiece or the leading issue of my administration. We have a few issues relative to national security, the economy, spending immigration and education that I think we ought to focus on first.
Cain went on to add that "leadership is saying very clearly what our priorities are and what we are going to focus our energies on. There are some things that should not distract us from our most pressing priorities."
When asked what his campaign's message would be, Cain, who was a corporate vice president for Burger King before running Godfather's Pizza, answered, "Problem solver . . . that's what differentiates me from politicians."
Cain, who also served as chairman of the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City -- and was chairman of the board for the National Restaurant Association -- cited his business experience when referencing how he would conduct a war: "I know how to listen to the people that know more about the problem than I do." He added, "We can't fight a politically correct war. . . . We can't fight a war on TV."
When asked whether being an African-American Republican might impact the race, he said: "Many black voters are looking at me as a refreshing opportunity as someone who does have a track record. I will pick up a sizable amount of the black vote -- not because of my color, but because of what I bring to the table."
Cain said he has been to New Hampshire several times recently and to Iowa seven times, with another trip there on Friday. He praised the early primary and caucus states for allowing "a much deeper vetting of candidates."