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Politics / CAMPAIGN 2012

Political Insiders Not Sold on Cain

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks to an overflow crowd at Streeters Nightclub in Traverse City, Mich., Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011. The evening stop was the last of several through the state of Michigan.(AP Photo/ John L. Russell)

November 11, 2011

Republican Insiders were some of the most cutting toward their fellow party-member. "His ego and inflated sense of self will keep him in the race," said one. Echoed another Republican who predicted Cain would continue campaigning: "Quitting requires dignity, self-control, and consideration for others."

"He should bow out now," said a Republican who anticipates Cain will end his campaign before January. "He is making a mockery of the entire GOP field and diminishing everyone's chance to beat Obama. He's doing a Clinton/John Edwards - and not well."

"He seems not to care much about conventional campaign tactics," argued a Democratic Insider. "And they don't seem to impact him. So he'll be around. He's too clueless to know he's not a real candidate."

"He has no choice but to take this to the end," said another Democrat. "To quit is to admit that it's all true."

Several Republicans voiced their suspicions that Cain's fortitude was more a matter of capitalistic instincts than political ones.

"For Cain Inc.'s post-election goals in TV and radio, there's no such thing as bad publicity, just free publicity," said one Republican strategist.

"He'll be in the race until all his books are sold!" predicted another.

One Democrat ascribed similar motivations, but anticipated that they would lead Cain to call it quits. "He'll play the 'victim' card and drop out to preserve future book sales and speaking fees."

A few Republicans were less dire about Cain's prospects. "So far he has managed to dodge the bullets," said one. "Of course, if more and more damaging allegations come out, the story could end up differently. But Bill Clinton survived as bad or worse."

"His poll and fundraising numbers keep rising," pointed out another Republican. "No matter what he does, he is having a tough time sabotaging his own campaign." Said another with an air of wonder, "He may still be in first place."

A Democratic Insider, however, felt Cain's endurance was only temporary. "The scandal won't kill him -- his rank unpreparedness to be president will. And that takes longer."

Other Insiders saw the dynamics of the Republican primary providing an extra boost to Cain's campaign. "The lack of acceptable conservative Republican alternatives is a stronger force to keep him in the race," said one Democratic Insider. A Republican agreed, predicting Cain would stay in "only because of the overwhelming and persistent thirst for alternatives to Romney."

Several Insiders distinguished between the official status of Cain's candidacy and the practical state of the campaign. "Technically, yes [Cain will still be in the race]," said one Democratic operative. "Realistically, no." But another Democrat warned, "Don't ever think presidential candidates live in our reality."

One Republican Insider, however, figures Cain's days are numbered, "not necessarily because of the recent allegations, but because we still have to elevate and then discard Newt before nominating Romney."

The National Journal Political Insiders Poll is a regular survey of political operatives, strategists, campaign consultants and lobbyists in both parties. Below are the names of the Political Insiders who are surveyed:

Democrats: Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O'Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

Republicans: Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Kevin O'Neill, Connie Partoyan, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud.

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