A Few Minutes With...Herman Cain

Nov 7, 2011
This interview was featured in the Monday, November 7, 2011 issue of The Outdoor Wire, The Fishing Wire and The Shooting Wire. If you'd like to read the preface to the interview, please http://www.theoutdoorwire.com/archived/2011-11-07_tow.html>click here.

SHEPHERD: The related businesses of the "outdoors" generates upwards of 700 billion dollars and employs nearly 8 million people - directly or indirectly. Yet federal officials continue to pass roadless rules and regulations that cut off access to our public lands and restrict the outdoors. What do you say to that?

CAIN: What I have to say is that is absolutely the wrong way our government should be going. I believe rather than cutting off access we should be opening up access. Because: number one, it belongs to the public, the public should be able to use it and number two, the government shouldn't have the job of trying to determine access in a restrictive manner.

I don't agree with that direction, just like I don't agree with the regulatory direction of this administration when it comes all of the agencies.

SHEPHERD: Hunting, fishing, camping, do you do any of that?

CAIN: I have been fishing, but I don't do it on a regular basis. I have never been hunting, and maybe been camping once.

But fishing is something I have done. I have been deep sea fishing in Alaska, I've been salmon fishing on the Kenai but it was many, many years ago. It is not one of my regular activities.

SHEPHERD: OK, do you shoot?

CAIN: I do shoot, but not on a regular basis.

SHEPHERD: OK, let's segue from that to the Second Amendment. You have said "the Second Amendment, I support it". Yet at the same time you've said the states should have the right "absolutely" to regulate firearms. How do you reconcile what sounds like a double standard?

CAIN: That wasn't what I said.


CAIN: ...for example, if a state wants to require some sort of background ID check that should be the state's determination. If the state wants a different requirement for carrying concealed...those are the kinds of things I'm talking about.

I did not say that I believed the states should regulate firearms, that was a misinterpretation. Somebody will go back and dig that up, but if it was said - and I don't think that it was - I never intended that. I was talking about IDs, that's what I was talking about.

SHEPHERD: Do you then believe that Chicago and Washington, D.C. have the right to have so restrictive a local regulation that it virtually assures that you can not own a handgun, even if you meet the federal requirements?

CAIN: I don't agree with those decisions.

SHEPHERD: OK..but...

CAIN: Let me say one other thing about the Second Amendment.

SHEPHERD: Please do..

CAIN: And I have to say it this way: the founders said people are endowed with certain unalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I happen to believe there's another certain unalienable right included in that, and that is the right to defend yourself, to defend your family and to protect your property which I call the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

So, it's not only an Amendment..

I happen to believe that it's an unalienable right, right there with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

SHEPHERD: Thank you. The current administration continues pushing ratification of the UN Treaty on Small Arms. How do you feel about the UN having ANY voice in how we run our country?

CAIN: How about zero?

I believe in US sovereignty. This is none of the UN's business.

I don't buy any of this global world order stuff. Anything coming out of the United Nations that is going to impact our national sovereignty, I will not allow it. PERIOD!

SHEPHERD: I think that having been said, we can move on.....(Laughing)

CAIN: (Laughing)...Are there any questions?

SHEPHERD: Uh....What is it about NO you don't understand Senator?

BOTH: (Laughing)

SHEPHERD: Do you believe the Constitution is still applicable for today -as it is written?

CAIN: Ab-so-lutely.

The problem we run into is activist judges who are trying to legislate from the bench. The Constitution isn't the problem; activist judges are the problem.

SHEPHERD: That having been said, Mr. Cain, we are one justice away from the Supreme Court being able to reverse the decisions made in Heller and Chicago in the past couple of years. How do we deal with that?

CAIN: Well, the first way to deal with that is to get me elected President. Because there would be some new appointments during the course of that four-year period -or maybe more.

And I will appoint, recommend, and ultimately get confirmed, judges that are constitutionalists; judges with the best records of interpreting the Constitution, not judges who have records of trying to legislate from the bench.

And there are organizations out there that keep that track record, that do those evaluations. That's the type of person that I'm going to put on the bench.

SHEPHERD: OK, let's move on...to government subsidies. Solar, wind, ethanol, gas, oil, do you have a plan? How do we get government out of the private sector?

CAIN: We're going to develop an energy independence plan. We're working on it as we speak. I want the free market to determine the extent to which any or all of those abide. And, I don't believe government has the ability to pick winners and losers. We should not be trying to invest all this money into green energy...and let the marketplace sort it out.

Wind and solar...if they can stand on their own, so be it.

In Iowa, for example, they have probably one of the highest percentages of wind-generated power in the country. I think it's about eighteen percent...that's wonderful; they figured it out, the private sector was involved, that's the way it should happen.

You go to another state; wind might not be the one that's most cost-effective. So another state shouldn't be forced to go down that road, you understand what I'm saying?

SHEPHERD: Yes sir, I do...

CAIN: Let the private sector and the states make the determination. Not based on subsidies coming from the government, but based on what makes the most amount of sense for that particular situation.

SHEPHERD: OK, so how do you make government bureaucracy work? And I mean "work" as in accomplish something?

CAIN: Well first, to make government bureaucracy work, you reduce it. Because the more of it you have, the more people you have playing 'protect my job'. I'm going to force a reduction in the bureaucracy number one; and secondly, these agencies will be run and they will make decisions based on performance metrics.

That is a foreign concept in government - but it's going to be introduced to the government. Metrics: if the science, if the metrics say it's a good idea, then we're going to look at pursuing that.

But for some bureaucrat, if he's sitting in a cubicle and decides that we ought to raise qualifications or that we out to reduce the qualifications for getting Medicaid assistance - just because they feel like it - we're not going to be making decisions like that.

Decisions will be metrics driven.

SHEPHERD: Now, a couple of questions I call individualism in America. How do you encourage savings and personal responsibility when the government won't?

CAIN: Two ways.

First, government under my leadership will get serious about growing this economy and cutting. Not just cutting the growth; cutting government spending. And so under my leadership the government will practice what most people have to do: live within our means.

SHEPHERD: Regarding that cutting...everyone says to you "Mr. Cain, we think cutting is a good idea...but don't cut my part of the cow". How do you deal with that?

CAIN: Here's how I deal with it..the reason many of the cuts that should have happened haven't been done is because when you ask the 535 members of Congress to agree on cuts, number one, they're not going to agree on cutting their pet projects. And number two, they're not going to agree on cutting the pet projects of their friends, right?


CAIN: Well, I will be a President with no friends...

SHEPHERD: (Laughing)...well that's usually the way they wind up....

CAIN: And so...I'm going to cut (stops, laughs). I don't mean that literally, but you see my point?

SHEPHERD: I certainly do sir.

CAIN: I'm going to have an administration, I'm going to have cabinet members and staff that will have no specific marching orders as to what it is we need to do. It is not going to be, 'uh, you know, my buddy the senator over here, this helps his state, don't cut it.' NO. It's not going to be any of that.

The American people are sick of that. OK? Favoritism for pet projects is going to be no more.

STAFFER: Jim, I hate to do this, but we're running out of time....

SHEPHERD: OK, in the words of Daniel Schorr...one more question and a follow-up.

CAIN: Go ahead.

SHEPHERD: Has the current president helped or hindered minority equality?

CAIN: Define minority equality.

SHEPHERD: Has he helped - or hurt- the case for any minority candidate running for the highest office in the land? That's kind of an oddly-formed question, so you can take it or pass on it. Then I'll ask my follow up.

CAIN: I'll pass on it...

SHEPHERD: Fair enough.

Let me ask my follow up....what is it with the cowboy hats? I saw you with with one on at Samford (Samford University) last weekend and I have a picture of you at SHOT Show last year wearing one. You like those hats, why?

CAIN: Yes, I do..for two reasons. For body temperature control. And style.

What's wrong with a President that's got some class..and some style? And I see cowboy hats and wide brimmed hats - as something I enjoy wearing.

(Both laugh)

SHEPHERD: Mr. Cain, I know we are out of time, thank you.

CAIN: Thank you, Jim, I enjoyed it.