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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript

Interview

By:
Date:
Location: Ames, IA

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CROWLEY: We'll have more of my interview with Michele Bachmann later on in the program. But joining me now is presidential candidate Herman Cain. I want to discuss this breaking news we have today, which is that Tim Pawlenty is pulling out.

HERMAN CAIN, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, he made a big investment, and he doubled down, as we call it, and it didn't pay off.

CROWLEY: A million dollars he poured into the straw poll.

CAIN: Yes. A million dollars. And we didn't put a million dollars into the straw poll. Representative Bachmann, first I want to congratulate her for winning, but she also put substantial funds into this straw poll. It was reported by one of her staffers this morning in an article that they 40 buses. Well, we had four buses to bring people here.

We spent zero on TV. We spent zero on the radio. And so this campaign is encouraged. And our momentum continues to grow.

CROWLEY: We should tell our listeners that you placed fifth in the straw poll.

CAIN: Yes.

CROWLEY: Let me look at my handy-dandy cheat sheet. You were at 8.6 percent.

CAIN: Yes.

CROWLEY: That compares to Palin's 28.6. But, look, Tim Pawlenty pulls out at 13.6 percent. He placed third.

CAIN: Right. But he...

CROWLEY: That's not. But what's the problem? What causes -- I mean, why does he pull out?

CAIN: Well, because he probably ended up still with some debt, and since he did not finish higher than the bogey that they had set for themselves, it's going to be, as you said, more difficult for him to raise money. And so I believe that that's probably it. He didn't see -- he didn't get the boost that he was looking for. You look at the Cain campaign, we finished in the middle of the pack, which is what we were hoping to do in the middle of the pack, not making a big, huge investment other than time and energy.

So we feel very good about where we finished given everything and all of the dynamics.

CROWLEY: Again, Bachmann at 28.6 percent, a congresswoman from Minnesota, lots of passion on the campaign. You also boast some passionate supporters. But how do you -- how can you go on? Is it that you run a shoestring campaign and a Tim Pawlenty can't?

CAIN: I run a campaign like a business. In other words, I don't allow -- we don't allow the spending to get out ahead of the revenue. So we always stay right behind it. And we were still able to be very, very effective. That's the difference. So we're not making huge gambles on spending before we get the money.

Secondly, because of the grassroots nature of my campaign, and because of the way people are connecting with my message, it continues to gradually build. So it doesn't have these ups and downs and these ebbs and flows like some of the other campaigns, if you are dependent on moving it with media. No, we're moving it with message.

CROWLEY: And one last question on Pawlenty pulling out, is it fair, do you think, I mean, here's a man who is eminently qualified, one would think, he certainly has the resume, he has a message that's very similar to the messages that are out there, is the straw poll a fair divider of who should -- of, you know, sort of winnowing down the race?

CAIN: I don't think it is a totally fair indicator. I call it a barometer. A better indicator would be the state-wide polls that they do with Iowa voters. One of the other things that encourages us is that for the last two Des Moines Register polls, I have finished in third place. That's solid.

CROWLEY: But in your heart of hearts at night, do you sit around thinking, I can be the Republican nominee? Be honest with me, because you know how it's parsed here in the public, and we look and say, Herman Cain is like fifth, he's like way behind, he doesn't have any money, and certainly you do barely show up in the national polls, do you say to yourself, I can win this? Because Tim Pawlenty sort stared this in the face and said, I can't win, and how come you don't?

CAIN: The answer is, I don't stay up at night or wake up saying that I can't win. I wake up saying I can, for the following reasons. My name ID is only 46 percent nationally. For me to be finishing in the middle of the pack with a 46 percent name ID and not spending as much money as some of these other candidates, that is a great position to be in.

The other thing is, people are connecting with my message and my passion. Sometimes articles say that I have a lot of passion but no message. I am the one who stays constantly on message about specific ideas on growing the economy and economic growth, specific ideas about how we address immigration, specific ideas about how we get entitlement spending under control.

So, no, I truly believe, Candy, that I can win the nomination and the presidency.

CROWLEY: Let me move you just to some -- using your expertise as a businessman to questions that are out there. There are growing voices in the business community, much of it supportive of the Republican Party policy, saying, we need stimulus, you know, 9.1 percent unemployment, nothing is moving, people are not selling anything because people are not spending anything.

So as a businessman, if you were president, isn't it time for some flat out government -- more government spending on trying to create some jobs to kind of prime the pump?

CAIN: Just the opposite. The business...

CROWLEY: But business folks are calling for this?

CAIN: No, no, not the business people I am talking to. I don't know who is calling for this. I think that is a misconception.

The business sector is the engine that drives the economy. You have got to put fuel in the engine. None of the policies have put fuel in the engine, such as lowering the corporate and personal tax rates, which I propose a maximum of 25 percent. Zero tax on repatriated profits. That's nearly $3 trillion offshore that won't come home.

And, thirdly, take the capital gains tax rate to zero is part of my economic vision. Most importantly, make them permanent. Uncertainty is killing this economy. More spending on government jobs, Candy, is absolutely the wrong thing. It does not put fuel in the economic engine.

That's why this economy is stuck and it's not going anywhere because I don't believe the administration has those kinds of ideas in its DNA.

CROWLEY: All right. Presidential candidate Herman Cain, number five in the straw poll, but still going strong.

CAIN: Very encouraged.

CROWLEY: We will see you along the campaign trail.

CAIN: Thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: Thanks for joining us.

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