Two likely Republican presidential candidates courted Iowa’s Tea Party activists this weekend, speaking at a rally on the west lawn of the state capitol.
Former Godfather’s Pizza C.E.O. Herman Cain said he was “weeks away” from making a final decision about a run for the White House.
“In January I had put my toe in the water, but I’ll just give you a little hint,” Cain said. “It’s now all the way up to my chin,” Cain said and, as the crowd cheered, Cain added: “I’m just sayin’.”
Cain told the crowd about his battle with stage four cancer in 2006, saying he’s been “totally cancer free” for the past five years.
“You want to know why? God said, ‘Not yet Herman,'” Cain told the crowd. “God said, ‘Not yet. I’ve got something else for you to do.’ And it might be to become the president of the United States of America — I’m just sayin’.”
During his remarks to the crowd, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty mentioned a potential rival for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.
“Now, I know Donald Trump is getting a lot of attention and he’s a bright and successful and accomplished person,” Pawlenty said. “But you know there’s a least the one thing that I think we should embrace from his other TV show, ‘The Apprentice’ and we should tell President Obama in 2012, ‘You know what? You’re fired.'”
However, Pawlenty did not, as Trump has done, embrace the conspiracy theorists who claim Obama was not born in the United States.
“Now, I’m not one to question the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate,” Pawlenty said. “But when you look at his policies, I do question what planet he’s from.” The crowd cheered.
Pawlenty said congress should not vote to raise the federal debt ceiling, suggesting that would be a “license” for the Obama Administration to “spend more money.”
Russ Saffell of the Des Moines Tea Party said Saturday’s event offered Pawlenty and Cain a good chance to meet “grassroots” Iowans.
“These are all freedom-loving people. They’re all patriots,” Saffell said. “Everyone wants their elected officials to be held accountable for their decisions.”
One of the organizers of Saturday’s Tea Party gathering jokingly described it as an “iced tea” rally. Before his speech to at the rally, Pawlenty joked with reporters about Saturday’s brisk weather, saying that as a native Minnesotan, it seemed “mild” by his standards.