Herman Cain heads to Capitol Hill to woo lawmakers

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
Font Size:

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain hasn’t earned a single endorsement from a sitting member of Congress yet, but the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO hopes to change that after breaking bread and having meetings with lawmakers this week.

On Wednesday, the GOP presidential front-runner will discuss health policy with members of the Congressional Health Care Caucus, hosted by Texas Republican Rep. Michael Burgess. A meet-and-greet is also planned on Wednesday for members of Congress at the Capitol Hill Club.

In an interview with The Daily Caller, Burgess said he hopes Cain — along with other Republican candidates who come to address the group — will elaborate on plans to repeal President Obama’s health care reform law.

“That’s great. I like that policy. I’m for it too. But there are a lot of details that need to be filled in,” he said.

Burgess said he invited Cain several weeks ago to speak to the caucus, which has already heard from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, another candidate for president, and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

On Tuesday night, Cain appeared at a gala hosted by the American Spectator and keynoted by Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan. He also had dinner at Bobby Van’s Grill in D.C., with several lawmakers, including South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham.

Cain has been in Washington all week for media appearances, meetings and speeches on his 9-9-9 tax reform plan, but was knocked off message when the website Politico published a story about two anonymous women who accused Cain of inappropriate behavior in the 1990s, when he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association.

Politico has been relentlessly covering the story, accusing Cain of offering “a shifting and inconclusive series of responses.” The website has featured more than a dozen articles on the topic, and it has been the site’s lead story for more than 48 consecutive hours.

On Capitol Hill, two senators — including one whose father is running for president — have come to Cain’s defense. “I don’t think you should print stuff like that,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told National Review.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee also took issue with Politico’s story in an interview with National Review.

“With members of Congress and with voters generally, if this turns out to be another racially-motivated attack on an African American conservative that is unfounded, unfair, uncorroborated, and in this instance, based on anonymous sources, I think that’s going to rally people around him, in Congress and elsewhere,” Lee said.

Follow Alex on Twitter