Cain gives support to 'American people'

Herman Cain threw his support behind the American people Thursday when he addressed the Southern Republican Leadership Conference at TD Arena in Charleston.

Tyrone Walker

Herman Cain threw his support to "the American people" Thursday rather than any of the four Republican presidential hopefuls still in the race.

Cain's announcement was expected to be the second or third big rumble of the day on the GOP presidential campaign trail, preceded by Texas Gov. Rick Perry bowing out of the race and throwing his support to former Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum learning he received the most votes in Iowa.

But it's unclear if Cain's self-described "unconditional endorsement" will move the political needle Saturday in the South Carolina Republican primary.

Cain made his remarks before a few hundred people gathered in TD Arena for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, which also hosted the GOP debate with CNN.

The Georgia restaurant executive once topped polls in South Carolina and other states, but he bowed out of the race more than a month ago after allegations that he had sexually harassed women and was unfaithful to his wife.

He largely has been invisible from the race since then, although Comedy Central comedian Stephen Colbert has a political action committee that's jokingly urging South Carolina voters to vote for Cain. As with Perry and a few other now-gone GOP candidates, Cain's name will appear on the ballot Saturday.

"We need another revolution," Cain said after referring to the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution. "We need a solutions revolution. This time it won't be about bombs and bullets. ... We're going to fight it with brains and ballots at the ballot box."

"I am endorsing, 'We the People,' " he said. "This will be the biggest transfer of power out of Washington, D.C., and back to the people since this nation started."

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.