Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cain: ‘We’ve got to beat Mitt Romney’s money, not Mitt Romney’

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain told The Daily Caller that the biggest threat he expects from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the most recent entrant into the Republican primary field, is his loads of campaign cash. “We’ve got to beat Mitt Romney’s money, not Mitt Romney,” Cain said.

Cain thinks Romney’s deep war chest gives the perceived frontrunner an “advantage.” Even so, Cain said he doesn’t think Romney’s “message is stronger than” his. “I don’t think his business background is any more impressive than mine,” Cain said. “He just happens to have a deeper war chest and you can do a lot of things in terms of hiring staff, putting together programs, so we just basically have to work smarter with the dollars we will raise.”

To build a war chest himself, Cain said he’s raising money in two ways: through traditional fundraisers and through online donors. He said while his traditional fundraising events at supporters’ homes are aimed at bringing in “larger donors,” his campaign has been getting loads of smaller donations online.

“The online contributions have taken off and, what we have seen, is after the debate and that Frank Luntz focus group that said that Herman Cain did well and he was the winner, we saw our online contributions double right from there, frankly,” he said. “And, we’re not talking about huge, large numbers. We’re talking about people giving $50, $100. When we get a $250 contribution online, we go ‘Wow!’”

Cain said that big events spark more online donations. For example, he said he got another donation “bump” after his official announcement rally on May 21, and when he shoots up in polls and makes it into headlines, the donations roll in. “What happens is you get another bump and then you kind of settle, but it doesn’t go back down to the previous level,” Cain said. “So, we gradually are getting more and more volunteers and we’re getting more and more donors. And, some of these donors, they give every month. We can track that.”

Cain took exception to the notion that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s campaign has completely disintegrated after he knocked House Budget Chair Paul Ryan’s entitlement reform plan on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Well, he’s obviously been beat up pretty bad about certain things,” Cain said. “But Newt’s got such a reputation of depth, and, you know, he can still hang in there. I don’t think he has totally self-destructed at this point because he said some things and then got beat up from the conservative side of things.”

As for the expected entrance into the race of Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and continued speculation about a possible presidential run by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Cain said he’d welcome them in the race. Palin and Bachmann, both Tea Party movement figures like Cain, might steal some of his thunder if they jump in. But Cain says that doesn’t worry him.

“If one or both of them get in, I would applaud them getting in. I think it only makes the race better,” he said. “I’m not worried about Michele Bachmann getting more of the Tea Party folk than I get because I’m also identified as a favorite with the Tea Party. People will sort that out. I think it’ll be good for the race because, if you’ve got the media covering three conservative voices out there, that’s good for helping to educate people, helping people to understand what this conservative movement is.”

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