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Leading ‘birther’ website brands Cain’s syndicated column as its own

Chris Moody, Yahoo News
The Ticket

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Herman Cain (AP)

This article has been updated.
For the past two years, Herman Cain has written a weekly column that is advertised as "exclusive commentary" for WorldNetDaily, a website that is the online hub for people who believe that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.*

Not one of Cain's 113 columns broaches the topic of Obama's birth, which are syndicated through North Star Writer's Group. He has used the column to build support for his presidential candidacy, outline his policy ideas on health care and economics and clarify his positions on the campaign trail.

Cain, a Georgia businessman who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, has catapulted in recent polls into the field's top tier, following his victory last month at the Florida straw poll. The birther movement's flagship publication's decision to brand his column space as its own could hinder his attempt to shift from a tea party star into a leading Republican presidential candidate.

WorldNetDaily regularly publishes articles by Jerome Corsi, the author of the book Where's the Birth Certificate?: The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President. Corsi alleges that Obama's birth certificate, released by the state of Hawaii, is a forgery.

The site has run scores of columns making the case that Obama's presidency is illegal. Joseph Farah, the site's editor-in-chief, advised Donald Trump during Trump's campaign to get the White House to make public the president's "long form" birth certificate.

Since August 2009, WorldNetDaily has published a commentary from Cain every week. His most recent column was published on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Cain believes the president was born in the United States, the campaign's spokesman, J.D. Gordon, told The Ticket in an interview.

But in March, when asked by a conservative blogger what he thought of the people who were demanding Obama release his birth certificate, Cain said he had not thought about it much, and he offered support for those who were raising questions.

"He's not off base," Cain said then of Donald Trump's effort to get Obama to release his birth certificate. "Just like the people who have been challenging his place of birth for the past couple of years. It's just not an issue that I have studied enough to have a view one way or the other. ... I respect people who believe that he should prove his citizenship, that he should prove that he was born in the United States of America, and that's fine. If I were president, and someone would challenge me on that, I'd produce my birth certificate. End of discussion. . . . But I quite frankly haven't looked at all the facts to have an opinion on that."

Farah, a friend of Cain's for several years, told The Ticket that he has been surprised by Cain's rise over the past few months. While Farah would not make an official endorsement, he said Cain is his "favorite" candidate.

"Of the Republican candidates in the top tier of the race--and he is certainly one, according to the most recent national polls--he is my favorite," Farah told The Ticket in an email. "I would have no problem whatsoever supporting him if he won the nomination. There's a long way to go however. We haven't had a single primary or caucus yet. We don't even know if the candidates currently running represent all the choices Republican voters will have."

In their entirety, Cain's columns read like a journal; you can follow his transformation from relatively unknown Atlanta radio host to nationally known presidential contender.

Cain paints a picture of himself as a candidate with specific ideas, but one who lacks the grooming of some of his more established opponents. In one column, he points out his faults.

"To my critics who are scouting for more of my weaknesses to write about, I will give you three you have not discovered yet," Cain wrote in his column on May 30. "I don't know everything. I don't pander to groups. And I am terrible at political correctness. Like any candidate, I will make some gaffes and stumble in some interviews with the press."

In other columns, the former chief executive of Godfather's Pizza has a little radio-host style fun. In a June 2010 piece, Cain called for a media boycott for a week, saying he was tired of hearing about Obama on the news. In a Christmas column that same year, he made the case that Jesus Christ was the "perfect conservative." Exclamation points riddle the page of nearly every dispatch.

*Correction: This article originally stated that Cain's commentary for WorldNetDaily was "exclusive." WorldNetDaily receives the articles from North Star Writers Group, which syndicates Cain's columns.  However, WorldNetDaily advertises Cain's work as "exclusive commentary." The headline has also been changed to reflect this.

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