Clueless AP: Cain's Philosophical Ties to AFP and Kochs 'Could Undercut Outsider Image'
The Associated Press's seeming effort to go after every candidate except the guy who used to be governor of Massachusetts -- and imposed CO2 emission caps when he was -- went a different route tonight with a report by the wire service's Ryan J. Foley that Herman Cain, a believer in liberty and free-market capitalism, "has close ties" with the Koch brothers, who believe in liberty and free-market capitalism.
Knock me over with a feather. Here are several paragraphs from Foley's report (bolds are mine):
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Long ties to Koch brothers key to Cain's campaign
Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has cast himself as the outsider, the pizza magnate with real-world experience who will bring fresh ideas to the nation's capital. But Cain's economic ideas, support and organization have close ties to two billionaire brothers who bankroll right-leaning causes through their group Americans for Prosperity.
Cain's campaign manager and a number of aides have worked for Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, the advocacy group founded with support from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, which lobbies for lower taxes and less government regulation and spending. Cain credits a businessman who served on an AFP advisory board with helping devise his "9-9-9" plan to rewrite the nation's tax code. And his years of speaking at AFP events have given the businessman and radio host a network of loyal grassroots fans.
The once little-known businessman's political activities are getting fresh scrutiny these days since he soared to the top of some national polls.
His links to the Koch brothers could undercut his outsider, non-political image among people who detest politics as usual and candidates connected with the party machine.
AFP tapped Cain as the public face of its "Prosperity Expansion Project," and he traveled the country in 2005 and 2006 speaking to activists who were starting state-based AFP chapters from Wisconsin to Virginia. Through his AFP work he met Mark Block, a longtime Wisconsin Republican operative hired to lead that state's AFP chapter in 2005 as he rebounded from an earlier campaign scandal that derailed his career.
... When President Barack Obama's election helped spawn the tea party, Cain was positioned to take advantage. He became a draw at growing AFP-backed rallies, impressing activists with a mix of humor and hard-hitting rhetoric against Obama's stimulus, health care and budget policies.
Anybody who thinks that the Koch brothers aren't "outsiders" should find out how welcome they and the Americans for Prosperity folks are at gatherings of establishment Republicans. Answer: not very. Anyone who thinks that the Koch brothers are closely connected to the Republican Party "machine" as it currently exists in most states also has no idea how fundamentally resistant to rocking the boat the establishment really is.
Cain's history with AFP may at least partially explain his campaign strategy, in that he already has access to AFP supporters on the ground in the primary states who can readily be mobilized when the ground game has to kick in. Meanwhile, the Herminator, through his book tour, is increasing his overall visibility so that when the boots on the ground greet average, relatively disengaged voters, they'll have a better chance of knowing who he is instead of having to start from scratch. Of course, the AP's Foley is also clueless about that.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.