Herman Cain, a GOP presidential hopeful in the 2012 elections, who is African-American, said Wednesday evening that the black community has been "brainwashed" into voting for Democrats.
"Many African-Americans have been brainwashed into not being open minded, not even considering a conservative point of view," he said in a CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer, host of "The Situation Room."
"I have received some of that same vitriol simply because I am running for the nomination as a conservative," Cain said. "So it's just brainwashing and people not being open-minded, pure and simple."
The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza also suggested that he could possibly receive a vote from as much as a third of the African-American community.
Cain, who is also a former Kansas City Federal Reserve Chair, was once considered a marginal candidate in the race. He has surged since his victory in the Florida Straw Poll last weekend.
A Fox News poll released Thursday has Cain as the third candidate in GOP race currently. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney, who lost his top spot after Rick Perry's entry into the race has regained his position, and Herman Cain jumped into the third place, according to the poll.
Cain won the Florida Straw Poll on Saturday with 37 percent of the vote. The margin of victory came as a surprise to many as the Republican contender had only between four and eight percent of the vote in national polls.
In the campaign, Cain has been promoting his "9-9-9" tax plan. It would abolish the current tax code (including payroll taxes) and replace it with a nine percent flat income tax rate for everyone, a nine percent corporate tax rate (currently at 35 percent), and a nine percent federal sales tax.
The 2,657 voters in the Florida 5 Straw Poll were activist Republicans from all over the state who traveled to Orlando for a three-day convention that began with the Fox News/Google Republican presidential debate Thursday night.
The results can be viewed as dissatisfaction with the current field of candidates among Republican activists as much as a victory for Cain.