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Fox News "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" - Transcript

Interview

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: "The Rodney Dangerfield of Republican politics," not getting any respect from Republican Party establishment? Well, that's what Mr. Herman Cain has called himself. But his view must have changed this view and a lot of other people when the Florida straw poll voters showed Mr. Herman Cain respect, big-time respect! In the straw poll in Florida over the weekend, Mr. Herman Cain clobbered the GOP front-runners, Governor Rick Perry and former governor Mitt Romney. It wasn't even close!

Mr. Cain is here now. Good evening, sir.

HERMAN CAIN, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, Greta. Thank you. Happy to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's always more fun to win, isn't it?

CAIN: It's a lot more fun to win, especially when the people are sending two distinct messages from this Florida straw poll. Number one, the voice of the people is stronger than the voice of the media. You know that the mainstream media has been trying to make the Republican nomination into a two-person race, or if not that, like last August, they want to basically turn it into the flavor of the week.

The second message is message is more powerful than money. My opponents, they spent a considerable amount of money trying to influence the outcome of this straw poll. I rented a bus, traveled around the state, talked to people, held rallies and shared my common sense, simple message about what we need to do to fix things, especially the economy, and the whole 9-9-9 solution is resonating with people.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I have two areas of questions. First of all, I must to congratulate you, though. I must point out one thing is that the two former front-runners, at least in other states, Governor Rick Perry and Governor Romney, had a combined 29 percent, and you clobbered them with 37 percent. So you beat both the front-runners combined. And that certainly is notable.

All right, now, my two questions. First of all, strategy, and then I want to talk to you a little bit about -- about some foreign policy. All right, strategy -- as the only professional businessman, CEO, in the race, except Governor Romney was a businessman and then became governor, and as the only African-American in the race, answer these two questions.

Does President Obama have the union vote tied up? And does he have the African-American vote tied up? Both votes have traditionally been Democrat. So tell me, tied up or not?

CAIN: He does not have all of the union rank-and-file tied up. He might have the leadership tied up. When I was in Florida last week, anecdotally, Greta, some union members came up to me and said, Obama does not have all of us. And that's a direct quote. I can't measure that, but I do believe that some of them are going to go against their leadership.

Now, the African-American vote, I am confident, based upon black people that I run into, black people that used to call my radio show, black people that have signed up on my website to support me -- I believe, quite frankly, that my campaign, I will garner a minimum of a third of the black vote in this country and possibly more, especially after what the president did recently when he was addressing the black caucus. That didn't go over well with a lot of people in this country.

My message is resonating, not because of my color but because the message is simple, and it is sticking to the American people in terms of actually making a difference.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, it's hard to bust through loyalty, and the unions have always been loyal to the Democratic Party. So what specifically peels off the union vote to you? And with the African- American vote, you know, they've been very proud of President Obama becoming the first African-American president. How are you going to peel of those votes? Because they certainly -- you know, they have great pride in having him president. So tell me exactly what your message is that reaches both those groups.

CAIN: I think that they're over this first African-American president thing. I think that is behind them. Here's what's going to do it, Greta, growing this economy. Growing this economy is what's foremost on the minds of black Americans, Hispanic Americans, all Americans.

The fact that my plan resonates, the fact that if we boost this national economy, we're going to help the state economy -- that's going to help the local economy, and that's going to help the household economy. And because the unemployment rate for black people is nearly 17 percent, instead of the 9 percent, they're looking for something that's going to boost this economy, and they see that possibility in my 9-9-9 plan.

That's what's going to peel off the black vote, results, not rhetoric.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now let me turn to foreign policy. Mexico, as you know, is right next door. Everybody knows that. An enormous amount of violence. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was described it as like Colombia 20 years ago and got rebuked by both President Obama and President Calderon.

If you become president, are you going to -- is there anything you're going to do differently about the drug cartels and the violence that -- down in that country from a humanitarian standpoint, as well as from a national security standpoint for us?

CAIN: Let's start with the national security standpoint. I am going to secure the border for real. That's step one. I don't know why previous administrations, including this one as well as the Bush administration, didn't get serious about securing the border. Maybe they didn't want to offend our neighbor. I'm not concerned about offending them. I'm more concerned about protecting Americans. So that's job number one.

Secondly, yes, I'm not -- I can't worry about humanitarian reasons inside Mexico right now until we make sure that we deal with what's happening in this country and what's leaving this country. You've heard about some of the scandals in terms of weapons, you know, that were going from the United States that ended up in the hands of the drug cartels. We have got to get serious about defending the borders and defending our laws here in the United States first. Those are going to be my two top priorities. Then I'll deal with humanitarian issues that might be happening in Mexico.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Cain, thank you for joining us. There are a lot of issues, and I sure hope you'll come back because it's going to be a long race.

CAIN: It's a marathon, Greta. And thanks for having me on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, it is. Thank you, sir.


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