Michael Steele offers Herman Cain some campaign advice

Michael Steele, who launched an unsuccessful bid for the Senate in 2006, says he would be “honored” if his campaign ads were the inspiration behind Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s offbeat videos.

The former Republican National Committee chairman released a series of whimsical clips five years ago while running as a Republican for a Maryland Senate seat against Democrat Ben Cardin. In one ad, Steele told viewers, “Soon your TV will be jammed with negative ads from the Washington crowd with grainy pictures and spooky music saying Steele hates puppies and worse. For the record, I love puppies.” The end of the video showed Steele petting a pooch to get his point across.

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Unconventional ads are nothing new to the Cain campaign, which recently released the much-buzzed-about video featuring a cigarette-puffing Mark Block, Cain’s chief of staff. And a Western-themed August ad showed cowboys riding through the desert, with the tagline, “There was a time in America when a man was a man, a horse was a horse, and a man on a horse was just a man on a horse … unless he carried yellow flowers.”

Steele told ITK, “My approach as a candidate when I ran for the Senate and I ran for lieutenant governor was to be myself. And that way people really get to see who’s standing before them and whether or not they like this person. And I think Herman has done that effectively, to the point where a lot of people like him and they like his spirit and they like his message.”

The former Fox News contributor, who spoke when allegations of harassment by Cain toward multiple women were just surfacing, had some advice for the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, saying, “Get the facts of what happened 12 years ago out there and behind him, but move into his message of having that connection and that reconnection with a lot of those voters out there and do it his way.” 

Steele added, “He’s not doing it the way Washington expects him to do it, and I think that’s a good thing, because Lord knows in my two years as chairman, I didn’t do what Washington expected me to do, either.”