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Herman Cain smokes the competition, leads in new poll [Video]

An avalanche of media scrutiny and an uneven debate performance have done little to drag down Herman Cain’s momentum in the GOP race for president, a new poll shows.

A CBS/New York Times survey of Republicans nationally finds the former pizza chain executive leading the field with 25% of the vote, 4 percentage points ahead of Mitt Romney.

Newt Gingrich places third at 10%, followed by Ron Paul at 8% and Rick Perry at 6%.

Cain and Romney were tied at 17% each in the previous survey; Perry had placed at 12%.

One reason for Cain’s continued strength: he now has support of one-third of self-identified tea party supporters, nearly twice the amount of any other Republican.

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The survey was conducted Oct. 19 to 24, just after the most recent Republican debate. Cain and his “9-9-9" plan dominated the opening exchanges; he struggled against the sustained offensive, repeatedly falling back on the notion that his foes were comparing “apples and oranges.”

Cain has had other recent missteps as media attention has grown. Most notably, his rivals accuse him of hedging on a staunch anti-abortion position.

As the Cain train rolls on, his campaign manager has a featured role in an unorthodox new campaign video.

“I really believe that Herman Cain will put united back in the United States of America. And if I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be here,” Mark Block, the campaign’s “CEO,” says standing in front of an iron fence.

Later, Block takes a drag of a cigarette as Cain’s campaign anthem grows louder. It ends with a tight shot of Cain, looking stern and then grinning.

Using the campaign manager as the vehicle to build support for a candidacy is hardly a typical campaign strategy. If he’s not for him, who else would be?


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