Mark Block Returns

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 30 2012 12:50 PM

Mark Block Returns

TAMPA, Fla. -- Right outside of Newt Gingrich's rally here, waiting near the door, was the Smoking Man himself: Mark Block, chief of staff to Herman Cain.

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Block was sporting a silver Cain Solutions button on his lapel, and couldn't speak to where Cain would campaign for Gingrich. "He's going to go all across the country, talking about his 9-9-9 plan," he explained. Gingrich has said that he'd put Cain in charge of a tax commission if he won the election. "That idea came from the speaker," said Block. "Herman didn't want anything, and didn't ask for anything."

Yes, Cain had run a tight campaign, flush with cash, with none of the debt that usually needs to be wiped away with a nominee's help. But what was happening with the internal investigation of Block's pre-campaign PAC, which had purchased tools later used by the campaign campaign? Block has said it would conclude soon. Could he elaborate?

"S-O-O-N," he spelled. "It's easy when there's not much there, apart from what you guys want to make of it."

Suddenly, we were interrupted by two Italian bloggers.

"I am from Italy!" said one of them. "I liked your ad, with the cigarette!"

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.