What’s next for Herman Cain

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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From hosting a TV show to serving as secretary of defense, former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says he’s keeping his future options open for now.

In a lengthy interview with The Daily Caller on Thursday, the former GOP presidential candidate seemed to rule one thing out: running for office again.

“Right now today?” he said when asked if he could imagine being a candidate again. “No.”

“And here’s why,” Cain explained. “Politics is too dirty and it’s too easy to go after somebody’s character when you can’t kill their idea.”

The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO dropped out of the 2012 race after saying his family was hurt too much by stories in the media about “false accusations.”

Cain said if it wasn’t for the media continuing to “spin over and over false accusations,” he knows he “would be the front-runner heading into Iowa, absolutely.”

Yet Cain says he doesn’t regret running for the White House, saying his 9-9-9 tax reform plan sparked a discussion among the GOP candidates about reforming the tax system.

“The answer is yes,” Cain said when asked if he’s still glad he ran. “I believe that I caused the other candidates to put solutions on the table.”

Cain admits he misses being a part of the debates. “Everybody I talk to, they say the debates just aren’t the same,” he said. (RELATED: Full coverage of Herman Cain)

Cain blasted “lazy journalism,” including reporters who claimed his campaign was more of a book tour than a presidential campaign. “To be honest with you, it is insulting,” he said.

Asked to describe his greatest weakness as a presidential candidate, Cain said “not being aware that some [news] outlets were going to look and evaluate every potential negative word or appearance.”

He said it was silly that he received so much attention for saying it was unimportant to know who the president of “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-beki-beki-stan is.”

“And by the way, the president of Uzbekistan is Islam Karimov,” he said on Thursday.

Cain also made it clear he doesn’t plan to cooperate with reporters at Politico.com, the website that first reported accusations against Cain during the campaign. He said he almost didn’t agree to cooperate with TheDC for this story because he initially believed this reporter wrote for Politico.

Cain said he won’t “do an interview over there after that hatchet job.”

As for the 2012 race, Cain said he plans to eventually endorse, but doesn’t want to do it until “emotions subside.”

“I still have a lot of people that are disappointed that I dropped out,” he said. “I have a lot of people that are broken-hearted.”

Asked to assess the race, Cain said among his “biggest frustrations” are the “negative attacks” in the campaign “going on in Iowa right now and across this country.”

Without going into specifics, Cain said, “The negative stuff is what almost pushes me to endorse earlier, but I’m not going to.”

Asked if he could back someone like Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, whose campaign once put a press release out that said 9-9-9 would wreck the economy, Cain said, “Not if she still stands by that statement, obviously.”

But is the 9-9-9 plan dead without Cain in the race?

“No, no, no,” Cain said with a laugh. “And in Germany, it’s nein, nein, nein.”

Cain said he plans to announce a new initiative in January aimed at promoting his ideas on tax reform, as well as his foreign policy philosophy of “peace through strength and clarity.”

“It’s going to seem like a campaign except I won’t be campaigning to get a position,” Cain said. “I’ll be campaigning to achieve a mission.”

He’s keeping the details of the campaign secret for now — refusing to even share the name for it.

“The name of it, I can’t divulge,” he said with a chuckle. “Because it’s too good, too easy for somebody to steal. Not that you would, but you got folks out there that would steal a good idea.”

As for why he’d be an attractive candidate for secretary of defense, Cain quickly spouted off seven points.

“In other words, in a word, a leader,” he said. “That’s what I would bring to that job. You don’t need to have defense expertise. You don’t’ even need to have military expertise. You need to have leadership expertise. That’s what I would bring to that job.”

Cain said he hasn’t been approached about hosting a cable show, but said, “obviously I would consider that, if and when that opportunity comes along.”

“I got a name that is even better than the Herman Cain train so stay tuned on that front,” he said.

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