CLINTON - Herman Cain, a potential Republican presidential candidate, said Tuesday he is a "problem solver" who can tackle the country's moral, spending, immigration, energy and leadership "crises."
Cain met with about 120 Republicans at Rastrelli's restaurant in Clinton, where he helped raise money for the Clinton County GOP.
"It's all about knowing how to solve a problem," Cain said, touting his business background in an interview with the Quad-City Times.
A former chief executive at Godfather's Pizza, Cain also has worked for Coca- Cola and headed the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
Cain is one of several Republicans considering presidential bids. This was his first visit to the Quad-City region.
Cain ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in a Republican primary in 2004, but over the past two years he has been making the tea party circuit. Tuesday's visit was his 15th trip to Iowa in less than a year.
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He was in Waterloo and Cedar Rapids earlier in the day.
Cain said he backs the 2012 budget passed by House Republicans last week, including its plan to change Medicare in 2022 by giving new enrollees a subsidy to buy health insurance on the private market.
That would shift higher costs onto beneficiaries, according to the Congressional Budget Office, but Republicans say changes must be made to keep the program sustainable.
Cain said restructuring is needed in all the country's entitlement programs.
"They want to leave the system just the way it is," he said of Democrats. "I happen to like (House Budget Chairman Paul) Ryan's approach. He's actually trying to restructure the program. This is what we have to do for all of the programs we have, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. We must restructure."
Otherwise, he said, the country is facing a financial cliff.
Cain, who until earlier this year hosted a radio talk show in Atlanta, isn't expected to make a formal announcement on a presidential bid for a few weeks, but he said Tuesday he fully intends to compete in the state GOP's straw poll in Ames in August.
Ed Tibbetts is a reporter for the Quad-City Times, a Lee Enterprises newspaper.