Herman Cain, aka the self-described Hermanator, has launched a presidential exploratory committee: a step toward challenging for the GOP nomination in 2012. Cain is a former CEO of Godfather's Pizza (which gets mixed reviews in taste testing) and may currently be heard as talk radio host on weeknights in Atlanta. Although he readily admits that he's up against a "strong field" of Republican contenders and clarifies that he hasn't officially thrown his hat into the ring, he is still quite confident in his own abilities. "People aren't just looking for someone that can win," Cain was quoted saying by The Hill. "They're looking for someone who lead and the winning will take care of itself." Here's how his announcement has been greeted by politicos:

  • Tea Party 'Lecture Circuit' Appeal 'Doesn't Scream "Presidential Frontrunner,"' writes Mark Hemingway at the Washington Examiner. "Whether or not Cain will gain any traction remains to be seen," he writes. Looking at the scenario optimistically, "the whole point of the Tea Party is to encourage people with real world experience to get involved and lower the barriers to entry in politics. No matter what happens, Cain has the potential to add a lot to the political debate."
  • 'A Dull Campaign? Not If the Hermanator Has His Way' The Atlantic's Joshua Green profiles the Pizza company CEO, finding that "what distinguishes Cain’s message is less its content...than the person supplying it. Cain is a 65-year-old retired African American pizza-company CEO who sits on several corporate boards, including Whirlpool’s, and entered politics only as a late-life hobby. But he’s serious about running for president. To a bland field, he’d add charisma, a compelling story, and some craziness." Green hedges on the question about whether Cain is "for real" (answer: "maybe") but figures that if the "born talker" Cain can raise enough money "he’ll get in the race." In conclusion, "Get ready, America, for The Hermanator Experience®."
  • Name Recognition Is a 'Daunting Obstacle,' writes The Hotline's Tim Alberta, and fundraising is another. Alberta reports that Cain is not planning to self-finance his "long-shot" bid. The candidate will be spending time in Iowa in the upcoming months ("I might need to rent me a condo") and will spread his message of fiscal conservatism through grassroots "word of mouth" means."In fact, he argues that being a political novice actually works in his favor," writes Alberta. "I think it helps me--it's a net positive," Cain told The Hotline.
  • He's 'Confident' That He Can Beat Obama "If I didn't think I could--if I didn't think I could win the Republican nomination, No. 1, and if I didn’t think that I could beat, in a political competition, President Obama, I wouldn't be doing this," Herman Cain told ABC's The Note. Cain explains that his confidence, however, shouldn't be taken as arrogance: "I had a new acquaintance ask me: Was I arrogant enough to be president. And my response was, I am confident enough to be president....after I go through this phase and the decision is yes, trust me, I'm running to win. Not for a consolation prize."
  • 'I Don't Hear Much About the Reason He Got Into Politics,' blogs David Weigel at Slate, who notes: "Cain became a GOP star and joined a flat tax study group after the 1994 elections. Unfortunately, the first people I've contacted about the group--which didn't quite get a flat tax passed--don't remember much about it, or about Cain. His political star sort of hung there until his 2004 U.S. Senate run in Georgia."
  • Possible Strategy: Appeal to the Tea Party, But Don't Rely Solely on Them "While Cain is well-known and popular among Tea Party activists, he said relying on them to coalesce around a presidential candidate isn't a path to victory and it won't be his strategy in 2012," writes The Hill's Shane D'Aprile quoting the potential candidate. Here's an abbreviated version of Cain remarks about the Tea Party: It's "a citizens movement of multiple groups. They're not going to get behind a single individual because it's not what they do. They're out there with the goal of educating people about the Constitution and our founding principles."