Cain takes aim at northeast Florida

Presidential candidate attends Stand Up For America event in River City

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain was in Jacksonville Friday for a Stand Up For America event presented by WOKV radio

Cain was took the stage at 7 p.m. Friday, trying to regain momentum after a tough few weeks in the polls and the court of public opinion following allegations of sexual harassment.

He was accompanied by his newly appointed Secret Service agents, which were approved for his use on Thursday.

"We were in New Hampshire, and there were some things, quite frankly, made us feel a little uncomfortable, so we're glad the request was approved," said Cain.

While Cain answered questions about his critics, his supporters seem as passionate as he is.

"It's important. The issues he's shown so far, he's going to look out for everybody when he gets up there," said Cherron Covington Newby.

Others weighed in on the importance of Florida in this election and where Cain stands among Sunshine State voters.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who was also in Jacksonville on Friday, talked about the GOP candidates as more attention in the campaign to win the nomination focuses on Florida.

"People are going to come here because you've got to win the state, you have to win Florida," Scott said.

Northeast Florida, even more so, holds candidates' attention, he said.

"Florida plays a big role, but the nice thing about north Florida is people are active and engaged in the campaigns," Scott said. "They have their favorites, listen to other candidates, make sure they know what they're talking about their position on things, and they show up and they vote."

Republican strategist Karl Rove, who shared the stage with Cain, is saying he's not supporting any single candidate. He just wants to ensure there's a new president elected next year.

"It gives me also a chance in a battleground state, a key state in the 2012 election, to drive home the message on President Obama's policy on the economy and spending and healthcare," Rove said. "I think it's very important for Republicans to make the case using the president's own statements and own standards of what he'd do on these issues in order to make the case to the American people that he needs to be replaced."

Some of those voters will include people already in Cain's corner, even before he appeared at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. Jacksonville Landing owner Toney Sleiman said he hopped aboard the Cain train in Orlando two months ago.

"I was at the Straw Poll in Orlando as a delegate, thinking to vote for somebody else," he said. "I met all the candidates, interviewed them, talked to them, changed my mind and decided to go for Cain, and I'm 100 percent behind him."

Other people haven't been sold and have crossed Cain off their list.

"I am a little disappointed in Herman Cain," said John Daly, who now supports Newt Gingrich. "I was a supporter. His foreign policy statement the other night said he would rely on his adviser. Well, I am not voting for his advisers. I am voting for a president."

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