Though it may have been a few months since Americans witnessed the combination of pizza and politics, the University got a small taste of the duo on Thursday evening.
Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and a former Republican presidential candidate, spoke to an audience of about 600 students and Ann Arbor residents on Thursday night at the Power Center. His appearance was part of the 30-city College Truth Tour — a bipartisan effort focused on informing students about the state of the economy. He also visited Central Michigan University and Michigan State University this week.
The crowd remained engaged during the event, and cheered and jeered at Cain throughout the evening, chanting things such as “9-9-9” — in reference to his proposed tax policy plan that called for a 9-percent personal income tax, 9-percent business transaction tax and 9-percent federal sales tax —“Cain-train” and “pizza-pizza.”
Despite the distractions, he focused on what he said he believes to be the three most salient political issues in the country today: the tax code, energy dependence and government spending.
During his address, Cain said the path to achieving success can only be achieved by following a “a zigzag, not a straight line.” He spoke of his humble beginnings in a small house in Atlanta, Ga., the hard work his parents endured to put him and his brother through school and the fluctuation of his career.
After detailing his personal background, Cain discussed what students can do to improve the country. Though Cain refrained from commenting on the presidential race, he emphasized that students need to stay informed, involved and inspired.
“If you sit on the sidelines and you think this country’s gonna get back on the right track, you’re sadly mistaken,” Cain said.
Cain added that the students of today will soon take on the problems of the future, and that it will be up to them to make a difference.
“I’m challenging you to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem,” Cain said.
Cain said his vision has already been influenced by his experiences on the tour. In an interview after the event, Cain said the most important thing he has learned thus far is that people want to know the truth.
He added that in the immediate future, his goal is to become a media mogul to fight the liberal media bias.
LSA senior Daniel Sterling said though the crowd may have appeared negative, Cain handled it well.
“He seemed to really like the crowd even though everyone didn’t agree in exact terms with him,” Sterling said. “He kind of used that to his advantage. He developed a personal connection with everyone.”
LSA senior Shawn Gauden said Cain’s lack of emphasis on the campaign was noticeable.
“It was interesting that he didn’t really focus on the candidate, he was focused on his vision of success and how to get there,” Gauden said.