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Herman Cain campaign is smokin' - with new cash

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Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star/AP

(Read caption) Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain talk to a tea party group in Anniston, Ala. on Friday.

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Herman Cain may be an unconventional presidential candidate, but he’s proving a time-honored convention in politics: buzz brings cash.

Since the start of October, donors have given more than $3 million to the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, according to his chief of staff, Mark Block, speaking on CNN Thursday night. That’s more than the $2.8 million Mr. Cain brought in for the entire third quarter of 2011. Cain has also more than doubled his donor base since Oct. 1, from 30,000 people to more than 65,000, Mr. Block says.

“So we’ve actually doubled in a little over a month,” Block says. “That’s what we’re seeing in our grass-roots activism growth and obviously in the YouTube thing."

Ah, the YouTube thing. After Cain himself, Block has become the face of the Cain campaign after appearing in a now-viral Web ad that features him – and his now-famous drag on a cigarette. Block says the ad has been seen by more than 3 million people, but a check of Cain’s YouTube page shows pageviews at just over 1 million. Maybe his sources are including all the free air time the ad has gotten on cable, such as on Stephen Colbert's show, where the sendup is even more entertaining than the ad itself.

Block also insists that Cain is “serious about the early states” – though, at the time of the interview, Cain was in Arkansas, which isn’t an early primary state the last time we checked.

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