Herman Cain Creates Buzz With Smoky New Video
His chief of staff's cigarette plays a starring role
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2011 9:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – Herman Cain's new campaign video is generating lots of attention, but not because of 9-9-9 or 9-0-9 or anything remotely related to policy. It's all about a cigarette: The video (it's in the gallery at left) features chief of staff Mark Block praising his boss for about half a minute. Then the camera moves in for a slow close-up of Block smoking a cigarette and exhaling, which fades into a profile of Cain. All in all, it's "one of the most bizarre 5- (to) 10- second chunks of film in some time," writes Frances Martel at Mediaite.

What gives? At Salon, Steve Kornacki suggests it might be Cain's defiant response to a New York Times article that noted he buddied up to the tobacco industry when he led the National Restaurant Association. (But if Cain is actually serious about winning the nomination, it's a "baffling" video, adds Kornacki. Read his full post.) One thing is clear, however: "Block is the newest YouTube star of the 2012 presidential campaign," writes Alexander Burns at Politico. He's even got a fake Twitter site now. And real Mark Block isn't a fan. Click for more theories on why the cigarette shot was included.