Herman Cain: My wife will not be traditional ‘campaign wife’

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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We know all about Mrs. Romney, Mrs. Gingrich and Mr. Palin. But what about Mrs. Cain?

That would be the wife of Herman Cain, the former Godfathers Pizza executive who is exploring a Republican run for the White House in 2012.

“Don’t expect the traditional amount of exposure you normally get from a campaign wife,” Cain said about his wife, Gloria. “She’s not going to do that.”

Cain, a charismatic orator known for riling up crowds at Tea Party events, said his wife of almost 43 years doesn’t desire to be the center of attention on stage or on TV.

“My wife is one of the most unassuming, not-looking-for-the-limelight-people you’ve ever met,” he said during a phone interview in between campaigning in Nashville. “And I’m going to keep it that way. I’m not going to push her out there to try to do things she doesn’t want to do. That’s not her personality.”

It’s hard to find much of anything about Gloria Cain on the Internet. Her only mention on Herman Cain’s campaign website is in his biography, where he says, “the paramount joys in my life are my wife, Gloria, our children and our grandchildren.”

“She’s very private and classy,” said Martha Zoller, a Georgia-based talk radio host who often talks about Cain, but admitted she’s only met his wife once.

Cain said his wife is a native of Atlanta who graduated from Morris Brown College in 1968. He graduated from Morehouse College in 1967.

“One month after she graduated from college, I swept her off her feet — we knew each other — and we got married a month later,” he said.

They have a 39-year-old daughter and 33-year-old son. They also have three grandchildren.

Though she has worked as a teacher and a librarian, Cain says his wife — who sings in the choir at Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta — has been a homemaker for most of their marriage.

“Throughout our life together, she has been primarily the person who has taken care of the home because I moved around a lot,” he said.

Cain — who is expected to formally announce his bid for president Saturday at an Atlanta rally — said she’ll appear “selectively with me at certain times as it relates to this campaign.” He also said she has an implanted heart device, which cuts down on the stamina she may have to stump across the country.

Cain — despite a zealous following — is viewed by many as a long-shot at best to win the nomination. Yet he continues to surprise — much like Mike Huckabee did in 2008 —with commanding performances on TV and at the first 2012 GOP debate hosted by Fox News in South Carolina.

Cain described himself as a “protective husband” who isn’t “going to allow undue limelight on her that she does not want.” But if his bid takes off — and he becomes a serious factor — he may not have any say in the matter.

Cindy McCain — John McCain’s wife — recently offered a warning to the spouses of those contemplating a run for president in 2012: “Everything you do is scrutinized.”