Herman Cain (born December 13, 1945) is an American politician and author, business executive, radio host, syndicated columnist, and Tea Party activist from Georgia. He was a candidate for the 2012 U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination.
Cain grew up in Georgia and graduated from Morehouse College in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. Cain pursued graduate studies at Purdue University and graduated with a Master of Science in Computer Science in 1971, while also working full-time for the U.S. Department of the Navy. In 1977, he joined Pillsbury Company in Minneapolis where he later became vice president. During the 1980s, his success as a business executive at Burger King prompted Pillsbury Company to appoint him as chairman and CEO of Godfather's Pizza, in which capacity he served from 1986 to 1996.
Cain was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Omaha Branch from 1989 to 1991. He was deputy chairman, from 1992 to 1994, and chairman, from 1995 to 1996, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. In 1995, Cain was appointed by Newt Gingrich to the Kemp Commission, and was a senior economic adviser to the Bob Dole presidential campaign. Cain became the CEO of the National Restaurant Association, in which he served as president and CEO from 1996 to 1999. During the presidency of Bill Clinton, Cain publicly opposed the Clinton health care plan of 1993, about which he questioned the president at a town hall meeting. Cain has served as a member of the board of directors of several companies, including Aquila, Inc., Nabisco, Whirlpool, Reader's Digest, and AGCO.
In May 2011, Cain announced his presidential candidacy. By the fall, his proposed 9–9–9 tax plan and debating performances had made him the Republican front-runner and he briefly led President Obama in some polls. In November, however, his campaign struggled with allegations of sexual misconduct—all denied by Cain—and he announced its suspension on December 3. At the end of 2011, the Pew Research Center reported that, of the Republican candidates, "Herman Cain was the most covered candidate" during the year. On May 15, 2012, Cain endorsed Mitt Romney.