Long-shot Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is not such a long shot anymore. His short declarative sentences, resonant voice, and plain-spokenness is a style that's apparently striking a chord among the GOP faithful.
The latest Fox News Poll shows Cain has tripled his support to 17 percent -- up 6 percent from before this month’s debates. Texas Gov. Rick Perry now stands at 19 percent, a drop of 10 percent from a month ago. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds the top spot at 23 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is coming to life after several strong debate performances, now standing at 11 percent.
Cain's strength comes as his latest book is poised for release on October 4th. Entitled, "This is Herman Cain," the book details his growing up in the segregated South, his rise through corporate America, his battle with cancer and his admiration for his father Luther, who Cain says, "had a PhD in common sense."
One passage reads, "One of the most important lessons Dad taught us was not to feel like victims. He never felt like a victim; he never expressed one ‘victim’ attitude the whole while I knew him. It was his inner self-determination. He just never had that attitude, so we didn't have that attitude."
Cain continues to raise eyebrows with his blunt, often politically incorrect opinions. Yesterday in an interview on CNN, when asked why so many blacks turn away from the Republican Party, Cain responded, "Many African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open-minded, not even considering a conservative point of view. I have received some of that same vitriol simply because I am running for the Republican nomination as a conservative."
Despite his tremendous surge, political insiders say that Cain retains many liabilities. Being a top-tier candidate in national polls does not equate to being a top-tier candidate in local polls -- the ones that most matter at this stage of the game.
Cain is not even close to being a top-tier candidate in raising money or in organization. That may change. After his upset Florida straw poll win last week, aides say hundreds of thousands of dollars have poured in online every day -- their best week ever. Cain’s organization is tiny compared to Perry and Romney, but aides say they're interviewing to hire an experienced fundraiser and other staffers.
Doug McKelway joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in November 2010 and serves as a Washington-based correspondent.