A month ago, poll numbers suggested Herman might not rise above "also-ran," but the man in the big hat has some momentum in his quest for the presidency. The conservative former pizza chain chief exec who has never held public office came to Chicago to raise campaign cash.
His pitch to simplify the tax code has resonated with many: 999, a flat nine percent tax on corporate, nine on income and nine on sales. The criticism is that a nine percent tax on income would hammer the poor.
"I want you all to be the first to get this right. Listen carefully," Cain said. Cain says his plan doesn't unduly hit those who can't afford to pay. Because he has, in fact he says, a 909 plan -- zero income tax for those below a certain income threshold -- and that's always been his deal.
"It is not a new addition to 999. People simply didn't read the analysis," Cain said.
Cain is trying to build an organization and the money that requires in Chicago and also in Iowa where he spent a portion of the weekend.
"And I think the fact that we are leading in the polls in Iowa shows that when people get on the Cain train, they don't get off," Cain said on October 22.
His improved poll numbers have meant a higher level of media interest and attacks from his opponents who say Cain has over-simplified reform, flip-flopped on abortion - he's pro-life, that his fundraising is also about promoting his book about his quest for the presidency, and that ultimately his credibility will falter.
"The thing I think that's gonna convince the people that my campaign is credible is the fact that if I make a misstatement, I'm willing to admit it. If I make a mistake, I'm willing to admit that I made a mistake," Cain said. When asked, if that was "presidential," Cain said, "Yes it is because the last perfect person was hung on a cross 2000 years ago. Next question."
Cain has increasingly been called on to explain some seeming contradictions on abortion, immigration and taxes. He said Monday that all has a lot to do with his rise in the polls and a tendency of his critics to take every little word out of context. Cain said, "We expected all this".
Supporters are said to have contributed between $500 and $2,500 to attend Monday's fundraiser.