by Dorothy Bracy Alston
For New Pittsburgh Courier

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Real Times News Service)—Could it happen again, an African-American man as a presidential nominee of a major political party?

With the trail-blazing Barack Obama seeking a second term from the Democratic Party side, is it possible the Republican Party could tap its first African-American as a presidential nominee?

GOP HOPEFULS—Republican presidential candidates from left facing camera, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman; Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Texas Gov. Rick Perry; businessman Herman Cain; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum participate in a presidential debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., Oct. 11. (AP Photo/Daniel Acker, Pool)

Memphis-born Herman Cain is driving that possibility into more and more conversations. On Friday (Oct. 14), he jumpstarted his Tennessee bus tour on the outskirts of his hometown at W.J. Freeman Park in Bartlett.

With a very strong presence of Bartlett police, a crowd of several thousand Mid-Southerners came to see for themselves and to hear the GOP candidate who acknowledges that he’s not politically correct and doesn’t apologize for it.

“I don’t know how to speak political speech,” said Cain. “I grew up telling it like it is and I will continue to tell it like it is.”

Mid-South Tea Party organizer, Jim Tomasik told the New Tri-State Defender that when he pulled the permit for Friday’s rally—just before the Florida straw poll that Cain won—he had asked him to come to the rally with him, expecting about 100 people to show up.

“I was shocked to see the people who showed up on a Friday in the middle of a work day…The estimates are any where from 1,500 to 3,000,” he said. “And when I learned the day before the rally that…CNN would carry it live and that Fox News would be there, I figured the buzz was out,” said Tomasik.

He was right. The diverse crowd demonstrated their support for Cain and the Tea Party in a large way. They showed up in large numbers, in mid-day, wearing Cain campaign T-shirts and buttons, volunteers waving huge signs that read, “Volunteer for Cain” and “Donate to Cain.” Mid-South Tea Party signs were evident. And sprinkled in were signs with this warning: “Don’t believe the liberal media.”

Cain gained national attention and shot up in the polls as a leading contender and front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination when he became the Florida straw poll winner with 37 percent of the vote. He previously placed fifth in the Iowa straw poll, which was also viewed as a victory in the eyes of Cain and his Tea Party supporters.

At about 11:50 a.m. Friday, Cain, dressed down in brown slacks, shirt and a sweater vest, stepped to the podium, with distinct ease and casualness, for his opening remarks. “Shuckey Ducky,” he said. The crowd went wild. Point made!

“The voice of the people is more powerful than the voice of the media,” he declared. “The voice of the people will decide who will be the next nominee and the next president of the United States…The voice of the people are tired of political answers. They want problem solvers in the White House.”

Cain, repeating a favorite line, said, “I don’t know how to spell the word quit,” a reference in part to earlier media predictions that his campaign appeared done for after the Iowa straw poll.

“When I presented the 9-9-9 plan, their (the media) brains exploded. They don’t know how to attack it,” he said. “There’s a real solution to a problem, and we need a bold solution. My 9-9-9 plan is it. It will level the playing field for the American people.”

Cain said the 9-9-9 plan would put 6 million jobs into the workforce and grow the economy by 5 percent, vowing to pass it within the first 90 days of a Cain presidency.

Here’s the Cain-plan premise: throw out the current national tax code and implement a 9 percent personal income tax, a 9 percent national sales tax, and a 9 percent business tax.

Rally MC, Mark Herr, got the crowd revved up before Cain took the stage. At one point, a microphone was passed through the crowd. A Tea Party and Cain supporter sporting a Cain T-shirt said, “If you want a person in office and not a politician, that man is Herman Cain.”

Later, Cain picked up on that sentiment.

“I will not be programmed and talk like a politician. I will approach the presidency like I’ve made decisions throughout my career. It’s called common sense. It’s what the American people are hungry for—common sense and common sense solutions,” he said.

Jacquis Lewis, a young Black Republican, was in the crowd.

“I first voted Republican in 1994 when the Republicans swept both the House and the Senate. I was raised Democrat and I didn’t like the views of the Democratic Party. They did not line up with my views and beliefs,” said Lewis.

Carla Cain, first cousin of Herman Cain, also was present. “I’m here to support my cousin,” she said.

As he closed, Cain challenged the crowd with a three-point solution:

“Stay informed. Know what’s going on. Stupid people are running America, out vote them,” he said.

“Stay involved. Think for yourself. Figure out what you can do to help at the local level. We all have to kick it up a notch…

“Stay inspired. They want you to believe that because President Obama will raise $1 billion you can’t do this. It’s not about the money. American people are concerned about the message.”

And then his closer: “The American people are going to raise some Cain in 2012.”

(Reprinted from the Tri-State Defender.)

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