By Anne Landman on October 26, 2011

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's new internet ad features a tight head shot of his campaign's "chief of staff," Mark Block, telling viewers how great Cain will be for the country and how much confidence he has in Cain. In the ad, Block looks directly at the camera, says, "We've run a campaign like nobody's ever seen." Then, at the 40-second mark in the 56-second political spot, Block unexplicably takes a long, prominent drag from a lit cigarette and then exhales, blowing the smoke directly at the viewer. The ad highlights Cain's connections to the tobacco industry, and Block's position in the campaign belies Cain's connections to David Koch. Until earlier this year, Block was the long-time leader of the Wisconsin arm of the David Koch-funded astroturf group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), following a scandal that barred him from electoral politics for a time. A number of Cain's other aides have also worked for AFP, and Cain's old work and email addresses used to be with the Koch group. But what's the cigarette connection?

The tobacco industry has helped advance some of Americans for Prosperity's agenda in several states. Cain himself has also been a tobacco industry ally. He formerly served as president of the National Restaurant Association -- a long-time ally of the tobacco industry in the past.  R.J. Reynolds' Director of Public Policy, Robert Meyne, openly praised him in a speech at a 1994 international restaurant, hotel and gambling convention in Las Vegas. Another RJR memo from 1997 indicates clearly that Cain and RJR agreed hold on pro-smoking policies. Numerous documents are available at the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library describing his relationship with the tobacco industry.

Comments

Everyone in business is likely to be affiliated with some industry that kills people. Many people have quit smoking; smoking is a choice. There are other industries that are putting people in early graves but no one seems to care much about that.

Smoking is not a choice, it is a marketed addiction, as the industry's own documents have shown in court. And no other industries, other than the armaments and illegal narcotics, come even close to killing and injuring so many people.

Far more are killed by smoking. 3,000 per day in the USA alone, 4,000,000 per year in America. The death certificates may state "heart attack", "stroke", "lung cancer", but the cause is tobacco.

I take issue that "everyone in business is likely to be affiliated with some industry that kills people". Perhaps if you link steel manufacturers with automobiles, automobiles with fatal accidents, you could say that steel manufacturing "kills people". The link between cigarettes and lung cancer is no stretch of the imagination, cause-effect. Certainly there are other industries putting people in their graves but we should be attacking them as well; not excusing one because it is one of many. That logic is similar to those who cheat on their taxes and say "well, other people are doing it 'but no one seems to care much about that'"

I am even cooler, I campaign with a CIGAR:
http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/smoking-cigars/

Cool?? No, lukewarm pond scum, imo.

I like the new ad. I know smoking is not healthy, but it is not illegal. Also, this ad has been getting a lot of airtime.

Also, this ad has been getting a lot of airtime.

More precisely, this ad has had quite a lot of airtime bought for it.

There seems to be a set of agents working for the tobacco industry who are ever ready to comment!

Certainly you are not equating "Legality with Right or Correct" "smoking is not healthy but is not illegal is a philosophy is fraught with dangerous thinking. Verbally abusing your children or your with is not "illegal" but certainly is not "right" in any moral sense. I hope you don't live your life by the letter of the law and ignore the moral high ground. More people should define their behavior with "a good person is one who does the right thing even when no one is looking".

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