Herman Cain Web Ad Puts Quirky, Smoking Staffer Front and Center

Oct 24, 2011 11:50pm

ABC News’ Susan Archer and Michael Falcone report:

Presidential candidate Herman Cain touts his 9-9-9 plan on the campaign trail, but his top adviser appears to be subtly suggesting a different slogan: ”Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.”

The Cain campaign released a quirky web video Monday night featuring Cain’s chief of staff  and campaign manager, Mark Block.

Block says in the ad, “We need you to get involved, because together we can do this. We can take this country back.” At the end of the spot, Block is shown taking a long drag from a cigarette and blowing smoke into the camera lens as Tea Party singer Krista Branch’s song “I Am America” provides the soundtrack.

Block is no ordinary campaign chief.

According to a recent Daily Caller profile, Block was “banned from politics in Wisconsin for three years and forced to pay a $15,000 fine after being accused by the Wisconsin State Elections Board of violating election law in 1997 as campaign manager to state Supreme Court Justice.”

The profile, by the Daily Caller’s Alex Pappas, also notes that Block “settled with the Wisconsin State Elections Board without admitting guilt. Broke and unable to work in politics under the settlement, he stocked shelves at Target.”

Block isn’t the only Cain staffer with an interesting back story. Cain’s vice president of national field and political preparations, Jamie Brazil, once worked for Hillary Clinton and is godfather to her nephew, Simon Rodham.

It’s not just political staffers, but bodyguards, too. One of them, Kristian Otto Herzog, has been seen on the trail with the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO. Herzog served as a personal bodyguard to Mel Gibson’s ex-wife, Oksana Grigorieva, among other celebrities. According to the celebrity gossip website TMZ, the convicted felon will no longer be on the trail with Cain.

All of this might be highly unusual in a normal presidential campaign, but take it from Block, who says in the video: “We’ve run a campaign like nobody’s ever seen but, then, America’s never seen a candidate like Herman Cain.”

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