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Herman Cain Explains Bizarre New 'Smoking Man' Campaign Ad

When it first appeared online, Herman Cain's latest campaign ad left many wondering whether it was real.

The ad featured Cain's chief of staff Mark Block talking about the candidate but ended with Block smoking and a closeup of Cain with a strange grin.

It prompted jokes like "a vote for Cain is a vote for lung cancer" but Herman Cain says the ad is just "Block being Block."

"We did not expect that reaction" Cain says in a radio interview. "Let me first say that Mark made a very serious statement about this campaign."

"We were in Vegas and we wanted to send some messages out there. And quite frankly, with my rise in the polls, I only have 24 hours in a day, and because I trust Mark Block to deliver the message of the campaign, I trusted him to do that ad."

"That's why he did it. Because I can't do all the things that are being requested of me given the demands on my time."

"Secondly, the fact that Mark Block is a smoker is his choice and how that little piece at the end came about, I don't know but we didn't expect that reaction."

"We have a saying when I go out on the debate stage: Let Herman be Herman. In that ad, it was let Block be Block because I believe let people be who they are rather than trying to restrict who they are."

"Mark smokes, I don't. He doesn't smoke around me. He respects the right of everybody that does not smoke. That is a choice that he made. He doesn't encourage other people to smoke. I didn't expect the reaction we have gotten from that little puff at the end."

October 26, 2011 |

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