Industry Insight & A Presidential Candidate Taking Your Question

by Jim Shepherd

If you could ask the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination a question, what would it be?

Foreign policy?

Second Amendment?

Jobs?

When did a successful career as a businessman become a negative when running for what is the CEO's position for the biggest business in the world?

What it's like to be vilified by your own race because you're not a liberal?

At this point, the apparent front-runner appears to be Herman Cain, although the race with Mitt Romney is pretty close to a photo finish.

But Cain's giving political operatives on both sides of the aisles fits.

He's decidedly not a professional politician, says pretty much what he thinks, and isn't bashful about putting forward suggestions for the course of the country -knowing they're going to be mercilessly dissected by the other candidates for the nomination and the Democratic party.

That's tough to handle if you're a fellow Republican. It's especially tough to tear down another candidate's ideas when you haven't offered any concrete plans of your own.

The problem compounds for the Democrats because, well, Herman Cain's -gasp- black.

As a black conservative, Cain has the Democrats trying every tool in their political operative tool bag. He's been called "a black man who knows his place" had "Old Man River" sung at the mention of his name, and been called "the black friend of the Tea Party"- as in "Well, I have a black friend...".

Pretty rough treatment of a black man from modest means who's worked his way up in the business world, but that's what happens when you screw around with preconceptions and politics.

Through it all, he's managed to pretty much remain his own man. In itself, that's enough to make him intriguing.

Until yesterday, I didn't know he was the black guy in the cowboy hat I saw strolling the aisles of SHOT Show last January. Heck, until yesterday, I didn't care.

Today, we should all care. And be encouraged by the fact that he was visiting the outdoor industry's biggest event before it was a purely political visit. He was there because he wanted to be.

If he decides to visit SHOT 2012, it's safe to say his presence would generate more attention than last year. Even if his star fades in the primaries, he's made enough of a mark to have done in any hope of anonymity for the next couple of decades. But there's not a lot known about Herman Cain when it comes to his positions on the Second Amendment, concealed carry, hunting and fishing on federal (public) lands and other hot topics in the outdoors.

We're going to change that. Cain and I are speaking - at length and on the record- to get the answers to questions you find important.

That's why I'm doing something I wouldn't ordinarily consider: telling you about a story before it's actually been finished. It's never a sure thing to make the flat statement that a political candidate will be doing an interview. Even major news organizations shy away from that sort of promotion.

But there's a reason I'm telling you in advance: I want to know the questions you -our readers- think are important. And I'm going to let you tell me before I have our on-the-record conversation.

If you have a question (a question, not a position-paper, rant, screed or manifesto) you'd like to ask Herman Cain, please send it to me at: [email protected].

I'm going to read all of them - even the ones that contain positions, rants, screeds and manifestos - and use them to put together the on-the-record interview. There won't be any pre-interview, and he won't see the questions in advance. It's a serious interview of a man who believes he's qualified to serve as President of the United States.

And don't waste your time sending "why in the world would you want to be President" - that's the question I'm been dying to ask. And I will.

But I want to know what else you find important, because we've never changed from our intent when I began The Outdoor Wire nearly a decade ago:

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