Herman Cain releases bizarre advert

The video features Cain's chief of staff smoking a cigarette while "I am America" plays in the backg

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.



If Herman Cain feared he would be forgotten as the battle between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry heats up, he didn't need to. His latest campaign video has drawn attention -- but not necessarily for the right reasons. It features his chief of staff Mark Block, urging people to support Cain. The strangest moment comes at the end, when Block takes a long drag of his cigarette and blows it into the camera, to the sound track of Tea Party singer Krista Branch's song, "I Am America".

It it unclear exactly what Cain's team wanted to do with the video. Over at CBS, Brian Montoli explains:

The spot was posted on October 19th, according to its YouTube page, but because it was unlisted on Cain's main YouTube page it seems to have gone undiscovered until now. There has been some speculation online that the spot is a hoax, but the Cain campaign late Monday night confirmed to CBS News that it is legitimate.

A campaign official said that the video was "just Block being Block." But it's unclear what the campaign planned to do with the video, whether it was intended to be an ad, or why it wasn't publicly available on Cain's page with his other videos.

Intentionally or not, the ad brings to mind Cain's history opposing smoking bans as a lobbyist with the National Restaurant Association, which the New York Times recently reported out.

They say no publicity is bad publicity, but given that the video has left commentators mystified, it's safe to say it didn't hit the spot.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.