Schieffer: Cain "can no longer be ignored"

He may not have the political resume of his GOP rivals in the race for president, but Herman Cain is surging ahead of them in terms of name recognition and popularity. The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza now has 78 percent of Republicans knowing who he is, says the latest Gallup poll -- up from 21 percent in March.

And according to a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, Cain is leading the GOP presidential pack with 25 percent of support from Republican primary voters, followed by Mitt Romney with 21 percent. Not a bad showing for someone who was initially considered an unknown when he entered the race.

CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley spoke with chief Washington correspondent and "Face the Nation" anchor Bob Schieffer, about the Herman Cain phenomenon. A transcript follows.

Pelley: Bob, I wonder how seriously should we take the Cain campaign?

Schieffer: I think it has to be taken very seriously at this point, Scott, and here's why. Think about this: Mitt Romney has been plodding along at about 25 percent in the polls and it's like he's been running most of his life. Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, gets into the race, zooms immediately to the top in the polls, has a couple of stumbles, and goes back down.

But then you take Herman Cain, who has no real campaign staff, has not raised very much money -- some people weren't even sure he was serious about this. He's gotten in, he makes a couple stumbles, and he keeps going up. Somehow or the other, Herman Cain is connecting with a big segment of Republican voters right now and that's why he can no longer be ignored.

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Pelley: But there's a long way to go. You mentioned the campaign financing and lack of organization. Does he have the legs for this race?

Schieffer: Well, we will find out. But so far so good for him. It's almost like one of those movies, Scott, where the candidate has no campaign staff, where he has no money, and then he just starts talking about things and people like it. That is what has happened for this candidate so far. These Republican voters like what he says. This may not carry him very far -- I don't know how far -- but so far it's going pretty good for Herman Cain.

Pelley: Bob, thank you very much. And as fortune would have it,Herman Cain will be Bob's guest this Sunday on "Face the Nation."

  • Bob Schieffer On Twitter»

    Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation.

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