Herman Cain's presidential campaign paid Cain's motivational speaking company $36,511 for copies of Cain's books, Bloomberg's Jonathan D. Salant and Joshua Green report. The revelation adds a data point to the speculation that his campaign's more about selling books than winning the White House. When Cain left the campaign trail to do a book tour right after he won the Florida straw poll three weeks ago, it seemed like he was flagrantly using a fake presidential campaign to make money. The Federal Elections Commission does allow candidates' campaigns to buy their own books -- as long as the candidate doesn't profit from the sale. But his company, T.H.E New Voice Inc., appears to be doing well: the campaign paid it another approximately $27,500 for plane tickets, lodging, and supplies, Bloomberg reports. The campaign is giving books -- his autobiography, This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House, a leadership pamphlet, and an earlier work, They Think You’re Stupid: Why Democrats Lost Your Vote and What Republicans Must Do to Keep It -- to supporters. Cain's isn't the first campaign to buy his own books, but it adds to the perception he isn't a for-real candidate.
So does the fact that Cain's own campaign manager says of the candidate's economic advisers, "I quite frankly don’t know who they are." That's what Cain aide Mark Block told Politico's Reid J. Epstein
; Block says they're adding more policy adviers. Rich Lowrie, the Ohio Wells Fargo accountant who helped create Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan, says he can't spill their names because, "I don't know what the policy is for releasing their names ... There are some who said, 'We like you guys, we'll help you as much as we can, but don't use my name.' … There are people who want to stay neutral, and if they said, 'Don't use my name,' we’re going to respect that. I don't think that's unusual." Adding to the aura of fakery is that Cain hasn't been to Iowa in 66 days, the Des Moines Register
reports. And the director of his New Hampshire campaign has never been paid to work on a campaign, Politico reports. Charlie Spano is a retired teacher who volunteered for Republicans in 2008 and 2010. He's on the local zoning board in Scranton. There's one other paid staffer New Hampshire, but guess what? Spano says he's not allowed to share his or her name, either.
Cain will have to show he's serious Tuesday night, at another Republican primary debate where he'll likely be asked about national security and foreign policy*
. This has not been a strong suit for him so far. Over the weekend he tried to distance himself from his own controversial statements on that subject, like when he talked about electrocuting illegal immigrants (just a joke
!) or said he didn't know
what a neoconservative is (he doesn't like labels
!). If he gets into trouble during the debate, maybe he can allude to secret foreign policy advisers, and tell voters for more details they should just buy his book.
Correction: This post originally said Tuesday's CNN debate would be the first to focus on national security. That's actually the next CNN debate, on November 15.
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
ereeve at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.