Quran-burning pastor says he’s not as smart as Herman Cain, but seriously entering presidential race

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Jamie Weinstein
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      Jamie Weinstein

      Jamie Weinstein is Senior Editor of The Daily Caller. His work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, the New York Daily News and The Washington Examiner, among many other publications. He also worked as the Collegiate Network Journalism Fellow at Roll Call Newspaper and is the winner of the 2011 "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" contest. A regular on Fox News and other cable news outlets, Weinstein received a master’s degree in the history of international relations from the London School of Economics in 2009 and a bachelor's degree in history and government from Cornell University in 2006. He is the author of the political satire, "The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama's True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer."

“I am not anywhere as intelligent as a Herman Cain,” Quran-burning Pastor Terry Jones told The Daily Caller. “But as a I listened to [the presidential candidates], they are not letting the American people know the condition that we are in.”

That is why Jones says he entered the race to become president last week. Since he doesn’t see anyone expressing the urgency of fixing the economy, he says he is compelled to bear that cross.

“I don’t feel as though they are telling the American people the truth as far as far as what type of condition that we are in,” Jones explained. “Our country is facing bankruptcy … we are way beyond an easy fix.”

During every presidential election season, quixotic candidates enter the race for the White House hoping to raise an issue of concern or enhance their profile. You have your Morry Taylors, your Mike Gravels, your Buddy Roemers.

But every so often, if America is truly fortunate, a candidate enters the race who is so bizarre, so astoundingly unqualified, so jaw-droppingly preposterous, that for one golden moment, a Herman Cain-ish smirk can’t help but to slowly envelop your face as you read the press release announcing their candidacy.

And so it is with the Gainesville pastor. Jones made headlines in 2010 when he announced that his church with under 100 members would incinerate a Quran on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The announcement of his “International Burn a Koran Day” set off an international fury, prompting riots throughout the Muslim world. While Jones refrained from setting matches to Muhammad’s revelation on 9/11, he ultimately put the Quran on trial several months later. Unsurprisingly, the Quran was found guilty and sentenced to a fiery death.

But Jones says he isn’t much focusing on such issues with his White House campaign. (RELATED: Quran-burning pastor ready to set presidential field ablaze)

“My main concern at this particular time is really our tremendous debt crisis that we have and that our government continues to overspend,” he said.

Which, incidentally, seems to be among the reasons why he opposes the Occupy Wall Street types

“I think it is ridiculous,” he said. “It is another gimme gimme my name is Jimmy. Pay for my school. Pay for my social job. Pay for this. Pay for this. Pay for this.”

When asked why Americans should want someone with no significant political, business or military experience as president, Jones said the characterization wasn’t exactly true: He once managed a hotel.

“Your information is not totally correct,” he said. “I started and ran a few successful businesses. In fact, before I was a pastor I was a hotel manager and in the last 20 or 30 years we have established 2 or 3 actually pretty successful businesses.”

But, he conceded, “I have a very limited amount of experience, yes.”

Jones may be selling himself short, however. He was no ordinary hotel manager.

“I worked for a prominent company,” he explained. “I was a type of district manager when they had trouble at other hotels. And all of the people who were to be trained as managers were sent to my hotel for me to train them.”

Asked to name the businesses he owns that do “quite well,” Jones said he preferred not to — he isn’t, after all, running on a platform calling for increased transparency.

“I would actually not like to name them … because what people actually try to do, people who do not like me, they actually try to destroy them,” he said.