By EMILY FESLER
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
EAST LANSING — Bold messages on debt, taxes and global warming were the messages former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain drilled into Michigan State University students on Wednesday during his Truth Tour.
An honorary MSU hospitality business faculty member, Cain was greeted at the Kellogg Center by about 200 students accompanied by a handful of adults and media.
“We want college students to know the truth about the state of this economy, the fact that energy dependency is a national security risk, and that the runaway spending in Washington, D.C., has got to stop. The best way to boost this economy is to start by solving the real problem.”
“College students can play a huge role in this upcoming election. I think many of them have realized that hope and change is just smoke and mirrors, because they have figured out that a lot of the things that were promised didn’t happen.”
— Herman Cain
Cain was a front-runner for the Republican ticket last year for a brief period of time before sexual harassment allegations saturated the media and caused him to terminate his campaign in December.
Cain recounted his adolescent dreams and goals of becoming a wealthy businessman and climbing the corporate ladder.
“When I said I was going to be vice president of something, somewhere, I didn’t know how I was going to get there, but that was one of my dreams,” Cain said.
Cain took on the role as chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza in 1986 after being a vice president role at Pillsbury Company and an executive at Burger King. He later went on to become the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and served as CEO of the National Restaurant Association before deciding to run for office.
The cornerstone of Cain’s presidential run was his 9—9—9 tax plan which he said would replace the current taxes code with a nine percent business transaction tax, a nine percent personal income tax, and a nine percent federal sales tax. His plan would supposedly broaden the tax base and ensure equal taxation of all.
Despite criticism that his plan would increase taxes for most households but cut taxes for the wealthy, Cain said he remains optimistic that with his endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the Republican Party might still adopt parts of his plan.
Between declarations that global warming was made up, and that a theme song to anime cartoon Pokemon inspired him, Caroline Chen, international relations senior at MSU, was not convinced.
“He has some very interesting ideas. He’s a character. Some of the things he says doesn’t really work the way he like to think it works,” she said. “It’s kind f scary that he’s preaching some of the things he is preaching and people might actually take him seriously.”
Chen said she was disappointed that she wasn’t able to submit a question, and that Cain didn’t bring pizza for everyone.
Tom Carroll, professor emeritus for the College of Social Science, said, “it was a broad, sweeping approach from a more conservative person.”
While he recognized Cain as someone who is committed to helping America return to more prosperous times, Carroll said, “Well the one question I was going to ask him was what role does the government have in regulating the banking industry, which was one of the causes of the major recession.”
Cain encouraged college students to be informed voters, not to base their decisions on the rhetoric but to do their own investigations of candidate’s proposals and to start the dialog among friends.
Rick Robbe, a tea party supporter and volunteer at the event from Clinton County, has been following Cain since he started on his campaign trail, and was disappointed by the way Cain was brought down in the election race.
“I like Mr. Cain because he is always very straightforward, very commonsense, seems like a message that would resonate with the average person,” said Robbe.
Robbe said he was encouraged by Cain’s story