Newly minted GOP frontrunner Herman Cain acknowledged his long relationship with the conservative billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch yesterday. Cain has “close” and “long ties” to the Koch Brothers, as the AP reported this week, likely making him the conservative political duo’s “favorite presidential candidate,” as ThinkProgress has noted. Yesterday, Cain told CNN he is “very proud of the relationship that I have with the Koch Brothers:”
CAIN: I know the Koch Brothers. The Koch Brothers helped to start to an organization called Americans for Prosperity. And I did some speaking when they were starting that organization, and I’m very proud of the relationship that I have with the Koch Brothers, as well as Americans for Prosperity. I have also attended some of their seminars and have found them very informative. So I don’t have a close relationship with the Koch Brothers, but I know them and I respect them, and they know me and respect me.
Cain’s campaign manager is the former president of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity’s (AFP) Wisconsin chapter, his former spokesperson worked for the group’s Louisiana chapter, and his economic adviser was on their advisory board. Cain himself used to hold an official position with AFP as well. He also attended the brothers’ influential private biannual meeting, and has spoken at several events they sponsored.
Last night, ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes appeared on MSNBC’s Politics Nation to discuss Cain’s ties with the Kochs. Watch it:
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Richard Fink, the executive vice president of Koch Industries, offered praise for Cain today, telling the National Review that the company has “long admired Herman Cain”:
“We have long admired Herman Cain for his success in growing jobs and business in this country, and for his long-standing commitment to the values of economic freedom,” Fink says. “Although we have not formally committed to supporting any presidential candidate, we are certainly glad to see Mr. Cain confront the issues of runaway spending and stifling government interference that are holding back the economy and the lives of all Americans. Anyone that has spent time with Mr. Cain, as we have, can tell you he is a man of deep dedication to our nation and his independence of thought is obviously what is appealing to voters.”