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no he cain't

The Mystery of Herman Cain and the Donna Summer Lyrics

One of the weirdest moments of last night's Republican debate probably slipped completely under the radar for most viewers. This moment occurred in Herman Cain's closing statement, when the former pizza-chain CEO recited a favorite inspirational quote:


"A poet once said, 'life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it's never easy when there's so much on the line.'"

Nothing strange about that on the surface, until you Google the quote and you realize that these words of wisdom were uttered not by a poet, but by disco queen Donna Summer in her song "The Power of One." Even more bizarre, this isn't even one of Summer's classic hits — she recorded it just over a decade ago as the theme song for Pokémon: The Movie 2000.

Is it possible that Cain knew the origins of the quote and was just utilizing some extremely dry humor when he referred to its author, Donna Summer, as "a poet"? Probably not! Here's the clip:

Also, it was hardly the first time Herman Cain had quoted, and incorrectly sourced, the lyrics from "The Power of One." On a seemingly official website, Cain quotes the lyrics but attributes them to "the closing song to the 2000 Olympics." He made the same mistake in his official campaign announcement on May 21:

And again, in a speech at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans on June 17:

Maybe in addition to being the theme song for a Pokémon film, "The Power of One" was also the closing song for the 2000 Olympics? Well, it wasn't.

If we had to guess what happened here: Herman Cain saw the Pokémon movie with one of his grandkids in the summer of 2000 and was greatly moved by the "The Power of One." After a decade had gone by, he recalled the song and wanted to use it in his campaign, but he forgot where he heard it, mistakenly pegged it to the summer Olympics, and was too busy fighting the scourge of Sharia to look it up online. Then sometime in the past two months, he somehow came to believe that the song lyrics he had been quoting throughout the campaign were actually the words of some unnamed poet. It's not the most elegant explanation, but it's the only one we can come up with.

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