Herman Cain warned Wednesday in Marshalltown that the United States is heading down a path away from a free enterprise economy and the time has come to stop it.
"The nation is at a critical turning point. It is currently heading down the track of socialism. And I said it," Cain told a group of Tea Party activists at Legends Bar & Grill. "The good news is it's not too late to get it back on the right track."
Cain said that one caveat may be the only bit of good news he had to share. He shared several of his concerns at the end of a stump speech explaining why he felt country was heading in a socialistic direction. Those reasons included the National Labor Relations Board telling Boeing where it could not build a facility and the national health care reform act, among others.
T-R PHOTO BY TAMMY R. LAWSON
Herman Cain addresses a crowd in his animated style while at Legends in Marshalltown Wednesday. The Republican presidential candidate told the group the country was headed toward socialism but it was not too late to turn things around.
The answer to the country's problems is not in turning to socialism, but rather looking at it from a business perspective, Cain said. He said he would use the same strategy he used to turn around a region of Burger King restaurants and the national Godfather's Pizza chain.
That strategy involves defining a plan, prioritizing items, getting the right people on the task, executing and then engaging. Also, he said it was imperative to get the people's input on what the problems were.
"The people closest to the problem are the ones who can solve the problem," he said.
Cain also took time to hit on a few policy issues, spending the most time on the nation's energy policy. Regulation is one of the key barriers, he said.
"I'm not anti regulation," he said. "I'm just anti too much regulation."
The Republican presidential candidate also said the level of spending and regulation that currently exists in government overreaches and said he would work to limit government. He said the Obama Administration has stopped new drilling opportunities and asked to see the science that backed up those policies.
"It's as if this administration doesn't want to use all of our resources," he said.
Cain also defended his role as an outsider during the stop, something that tea party loyalists have tried to embrace in certain candidates.
"My business problem-solving skills can help this nation," he said. "America cannot wait."
Cain's campaign has gained traction in recent months, and a recent Zogby poll found him tied for second among all the Republican candidates in the race with a showing of 15 percent. Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., came in first in that poll with support of 24 percent.
Cain, who has focused his campaign on a grassroots effort up to this point, said he will be a contender and actively compete in the Ames Straw Poll set for later this summer.
Other candidates, namely Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, said they will not actively compete in the poll.