“If we believe in God, if we believe in ourselves and we believe in the United States of America, then we can do great things,” Cain said in a video announcement released before the rally. “It won’t be easy, but we can turn this country around.”

Cain was largely seen as having little chance to make a splash on the GOP stage but has picked up momentum after his performance during the first GOP presidential debate held May 5 in South Carolina. He’s made some controversial statements, like saying that he would not appoint Muslims in his administration because they would try to force Sharia law on the American people.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (who, and I’m not joking, calls himself T-Paw on his website) also made his announcement over the weekend via a web video.

Aside from a ridiculous self-appointed nickname, Pawlenty is a values-driven Republican, who “firmly believes” marriage is between a man and a woman. Cain has also stated his views on same-sex marriage.

Most of the Republicans in the race are far from gay-friendly. Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), who made his campaign official last week, said during the Fox News debate that the federal government had no place in the marriage discussion. Paul, however, is more Libertarian than Republican and is unlikely to capture the support of the GOP base during the primaries.

Possible candidates who have yet to officially jump in the contest include former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann. Realty TV star and real estate mogul Donald Trump and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee were considered possible candidates but both announced they would not run within the last week.

 

Top photo: Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain (via Facebook)

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