Candidates for president typically don’t charge money for giving motivational speeches, but that hasn’t stopped former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain from racking up some $250,000 in speaking fees this year.
“I’m still doing paid speeches,” Cain told Bloomberg’s Joshua Green earlier this week. “But I have not raised my prices. This economy’s on life support, so I’m very mindful of those companies that would like to have me come and speak. But I’m not gonna take advantage of my newfound popularity just to put more dollars in my pocket.”
According to Green, Cain charges $25,000 per speech. He began his career as an “inspirational speaker” in 1995 as part of a series of motivational lectures, workshops and videos he called “The Herminator Experience,” or T.H.E.
Although polls show he is clearly a frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, Cain has been criticized for running an operation that looks more like a book tour than a traditional campaign. While his rivals scramble to meet with voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, Cain has been plugging his new book, “This Is Herman Cain!,” in late primary states like Tennessee. His staff is tiny compared to the campaign juggernauts behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and so are his fundraising numbers: Cain raised only $1.3 million last quarter, while Romney and Perry took in more than $30 million between them. Cain also spent $65,000 of the money buying copies of his own book.
Cain dismisses the idea that he isn’t seriously running for president. “People who criticize me for our strategy, they don’t know what our strategy is,” Cain says. “I have an unconventional campaign.”