Herman Cain's request for Secret Service protection was approved on Thursday afternoon, making the former Godfather Pizza CEO the first Republican candidate to be granted the privilege and prompting Slate's Dave Weigel to wonder, "Is this the first time a Secret Service detail has been assigned to a book tour?" On a more serious note, the Associated Press reports:
Death threats against Cain, who had been experiencing a bounce in the polls, triggered his request, according to an official with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the situation.
Secret Service protection is given to each party's presidential nominee, but can be provided earlier if there is a credible threat. Then-Sen. Barack Obama received his Secret Service detail in May 2007, more than a year before he captured the Democratic nomination.
The AP's kicker quote explaining the situation is priceless in any context. Referring to his dipping poll numbers, Cain said in New Hampshire on Thursday, "The people that are on the Cain train, they don't get off because of that crap."