The former Godfather's Pizza CEO had the makings of a flash in the pan -- but as a money magnet, he could have staying power in the 2012 race
Herman Cain's campaign has turned a few degrees past full-circle.
When former Atlantic senior editor Joshua Green profiled him in March, Cain was nobody in 2012 terms, his name failing to conjure associations with the phrase "presidential candidate." After a few strong debate performances and the falling-off of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Cain rose to become the GOP's unlikely co-front-runner. With his sexual-harassment scandal, it seemed the former Godfather's Pizza CEO would return to the fringe, his chances at the White House nullified by Politico's scoop.
Cain has tried to surge past the allegations, and he's logged a sign of early success, raking in a ton of cash. In the week following Politico's initial story, Cain raised $2 million, nearly reaching the $2.8 million he raised from July through September. Without having listened to his fundraisers' pitches, and without knowing where all that money came from, it's safe to assume that the flood of sub-$5,000 campaign donations (the limit under federal law) means Cain has turned the scandal into a call-to-arms. The strategy adopted by Cain and his supporters, to the Perry campaign and the media, seems to have worked, inculcating GOP primary voters to see Cain as the victim here and isolating him from the scandal in the same way Sarah Palin's "lamestream media" critiques have inoculated her.