Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain made a heartfelt plea to college students to pursue their American dream when he stopped in State College Wednesday.
Cain visited the State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., on his College Truth Tour during the Penn State College Republicans’ Truth Week. The mid-size audience greeted Cain with thunderous applause and a standing ovation when he appeared on stage.
Through the lens of his personal story, he encouraged students to set goals and work hard to achieve their dreams.
His dad worked three jobs as a chauffeur, janitor and barber for their family to get by, Cain said. When he was 12, he went to work with his dad to help him clean at a plant owned by Pillsbury — the same company where he later became the youngest vice president at the age of 34, he said.
“It’s not where you start out in life,” Cain said. “It’s where you end up. Allow your life to unfold.”
Cain’s talk was also laced with humor. At one point, he recited Pokemon lyrics to motivate the audience to persist in pursuit of their dreams even when the going gets tough.
Penn State College Republicans Treasurer Nick Rapak said Cain’s remarks were the essence of how college students should think.
“Everyone should have goals and dreams, especially in this economy where there’s a lot of negativity going around,” Rapak (junior-finance) said. “To see how somebody could go from nothing to being a presidential candidate is really something.”
An overly complex tax code, dependence on foreign oil and excessive spending are barriers to the success for young Americans.
The economy is the biggest barrier to economic growth, Cain said. He said he favors a flat tax, a fair tax or his 9-9-9 plan instead of the current tax code.
Penn State College Democrats President Drew McGehrin (senior-history and religious studies) said that wasn’t Cain’s strongest point.
“If the general public agreed with the 9-9-9 plan, one would think he would be the Republican nominee for president, and he’s not,” McGehrin said.
Cain stressed coal, natural gas and oil as the primary means for American energy independence, but McGehrin said the U.S. should be looking beyond those resources. He said America needs to invest in wind, solar and nuclear energy — energy for the future.
Toward the end of his talk, Cain implored voters to make an informed decision. Voters have no reason to not be informed, given advancements in technology and the wealth of information available, he said.
“Stay informed, because stupid people are ruining America,” Cain said. “Don’t be a stupid voter.”
Ann Coulter will also speak at 8 p.m. tonight in 121 Sparks Building as part of Truth Week.