“We don’t like to use the word ghost because there is nothing ghost-like about Mr. Cain,” Deborah Strober said, giggling, when asked whether she and her husband, Gerald, ghost wrote Herman Cain’s recently released memoir, “This is Herman Cain!”
“It’s his book, he’s the author of the book, we helped him put it together, put it into shape, but it is basically his voice. What you see is what you get,” added Gerald.
But the Strobers were more than merely shapers of Cain’s book. The Jewish New York couple say they actually came up with the very idea for the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO to put out a campaign book at all. While the now-staunch Cain supporters said they had heard of Cain before his widely acclaimed performance in May’s first GOP primary debate in South Carolina, the debate was when they both first fell for Mr. 9-9-9.
“We were very taken with him,” Deborah said. “What struck us was his sincerity and sense of purpose.”
The Strobers, whose combined campaign experience is almost non-existent, wanted do what they could to help Cain win the presidency. After noting Cain’s low name recognition, they contacted the campaign and offered to help write a memoir to increase his visibility. The couple had authored numerous books over the years on personalities ranging from Rudy Giuliani to the Dalai Lama to Bernie Madoff and ultimately submitted their proposal to Cain campaign.
“A few weeks later he called us back and said, ‘This is Herman Cain, you have my voice’ and that led to doing the campaign book,” Deborah explained.
The Strobers composed the book in just a few months, getting it out just in time for Cain’s meteoric rise in the polls. The two say they got paid a fee to write the book for Cain, though no royalties. But they are more than paid hands. They have become friends of the candidate. (RELATED: Poll: Cain is the new frontrunner)
In fact, when Herman Cain visited Israel earlier this year, the Strobers — who have an apartment, a child who made Aliyah and grandchildren in Israel — say they arranged his itinerary and traveled with him. Indeed, like the idea for the memoir, the idea for Cain to go to Israel was their’s as well, they said.
“We were just sitting around talking with Mark Block, his chief of staff, aka COO in Mr. Cain’s terminology, and we said, you know, ‘it would be really great if Mr. Cain could go to Israel,” explained Deborah.
According to the Strobers, Block immediately picked a date, which was later modified so that Cain could attend Glenn Beck’s rally in the Jewish State. While in Israel with Cain, the Strobers arranged for the White House contender to meet Israeli government officials and opposition leaders, to stop by the land the Israeli government has set aside for a U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, to go to the West Bank settlement of Ariel and to visit Christian holy sties, among other activities.
Asked whether they offered Cain, who is staunchly pro-Israel, any advice on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Strobers said they did and that Cain is a “quick learner.”
“We’ve talked to him about various issues and he’s been on an upward learning curve and he asks questions, very good questions, and we tried to answer them,” said Deborah. “We tried to give him more of an historical perspective and he’s a very quick learner.”
As for their view on the conflict, Gerald said he would support a two state solution as long as he believed the Palestinian state could live at peace with Israel.
“We favor a two state solution if it is possible to have two states that can live at peace with each other,” Gerald said, “but we do not believe that the Palestinian Authority as currently constituted, particularly with its relationship with a terror group like Hamas, can be an effective partner for peace with Israel.”
The Strobers are confident that even though Cain may not be an expert on foreign policy, he has the fundamentals right and would certainly be better than the current administration on Israel.
“[Cain] has an essential tenant: ‘You know who your friends are, you know who your enemies are,” said Deborah. “And that is an important thing to be able to discern in this day and age.”
The Strobers said they were with Cain when President Obama gave his speech stating that negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians should proceed on the basis of the pre-1967 Six Day War borders, with mutually agreed land swaps.
“[Cain] was visibly angry when he heard what the Obama administration had done” said Deborah.
Gerald’s religious trajectory is unconventional. According to an article he wrote for Commentary magazine in 1982, he converted to Christianity and attended the Moody Bible Institute for a time before ultimately converting back to Judaism. Now he says he tries to bridge the gap between the evangelical and Jewish worlds.
“I’ve been a friend of Billy Graham’s since the mid ‘70s, or earlier than that, the late Jerry Falwell was a dear and close friend,” said Gerald, who has written books on both iconic Christian figures. “What I have tried to do, having been in both of these words, is to make whatever small contribution I can make to be a bridge, to bring Jews and Christians, particularly evangelical Christians, together, to stress our commonalities while never at all suggesting that there are no differences in their faith positions.”
Asked whether Cain’s deep religious faith is something that attracted him to the candidate, Gerald said he certainly admires Cain’s religiosity.
“He is a man who has values, who has a faith position, who is a wonderful father and grandfather and loving husband,” Gerald said. “At the same time he is a very humble person and I think he basically lives his faith. And that’s very important. “
The Strobers have kept in touch with Cain since their intensive cooperation with him during the book writing process. They saw him last week when he visited New York and keep in contact via email. And they are happy to see their fellow Americans finally recognize, if polls are any indication, the tremendous leader they believe Cain is and can be as president.
“We had a wonderful time working with Mr. Cain,” said Gerald, “because … in addition to his skills as a business leader, he is just one outstanding human being, wonderful to be with, and I think the American people are getting more and more a sense of who Herman Cain is and how a wonderful a leader he will be for American in the future.”
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