Confident Herman Cain to ‘dial back’ campaign appearances
ASSOCIATED PRESS October 29, 2011 9:32PM
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain signs a campaign sign for 11-year-old David Strickland on Saturday in Huntsville, Ala. He's predicting victory in South Carolina's primary, "And then, look out," he said at Samford University. | Michael Mer
Updated: October 30, 2011 1:18AM
BIRMNGHAM, Ala. — Presidential candidate Herman Cain is full of confidence about his presidential prospects.
He hasn’t set foot in Iowa or New Hampshire — the first states to vote — in weeks, but he expects to finish first or second in those states, he said Saturday.
He’s also predicting victory in South Carolina, which will hold the South’s first presidential contest in 2012.
“And then, look out,” Cain said Saturday before plunging into a crowd of football tailgaters at Samford University, a Baptist-affiliated school in Alabama.
That will set the stage for him to capture the GOP nomination, he said.
But he also said he plans to “dial back” his campaign and media appearances in order to avoid missteps. Since climbing in the polls, he has had a series of fumbles, forcing him to clarify comments on abortion, immigration and terrorism suspects.
Cain has chalked up the mistakes to a grueling campaign schedule jammed with media interviews. Such itineraries are standard fare on the presidential campaign trail and it is unclear how aggressively he will restrict his schedule.
The former pizza magnate has never held elected office, but he’s adapting from being a longshot candidate hustling for any media attention to a front-runner who must be more selective with his time and disciplined in his message.
“When you’re too tired, you’re not on your ‘A game,’ ” the 65-year-old Georgia businessman told \reporters who greeted the arrival of his bus on the Samford campus.
He said it was a mistake to schedule interviews immediately after debates. Cain maintained that he didn’t flip-flop on issues — he simply didn’t hear the questions properly.
Blunt-spoken Cain has been more cautious lately. At a campaign stop at the Alabama Republican Party headquarters on Friday, he paused, then asked a reporter to repeat a complicated two-part question on immigration.
“I don’t want to have to clarify,” he said with a laugh.
Some voters don’t see walking back a misstatement as a sign of weakness.
“I like that if he says something, he’s not afraid to turn around and admit he’s wrong,” said Phil Andrews, of Birmingham, who tried without success to reach the candidate to get his signature on a Cain T-shirt. “He’s human and that’s just fine.”