While all the GOP presidential candidates received warm welcomes Friday at the Value Voter Summit, none of them were greeted with such a frenzy of excitement as Herman Cain.
The audience at this convention for socially conservative voters leaped to their feet time and again, screaming and chanting along with the businessman who just weeks ago was largely unknown to voters, but has now climbed to the top tier of candidates in the presidential race.
The line for Cain's post-speech book signing snaked along the hallway as hundreds waited for a moment with the former Godfather's Pizza CEO. One woman held five copies of "This Is Herman Cain: My Journey To The White House." Cain said people had pointed out that the title of his autobiography was a bold statement.
"I know it is. I put it on there for a reason, because I'm going to the White House," he said as his audience roared.
Cain is attracting 17 percent of Republican-leaning voters — tied with Rick Perry and second only to Mitt Romney, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Oct. 4.
At the beginning of September, just 3 percent of voters chose Cain.
He's been on media blitz in the past few weeks, getting interviews on the network morning talk shows, more appearance on the cable news shows and profiles in prominent newspapers.
Cain minced no words in laying out his views on social issues at a conference focused on opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and departure from Christian values.
"I believe in life from conception, period, no exception. I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman," he said.
The same day that Romney gave a major foreign policy speech aimed at bulking up his hawkish credentials, Cain laid out his philosophy, invoking former President Ronald Reagan, and calling his philosophy "peace through strength and clarity."
"We must clarify who are friend are, clarify who our enemies are, and stop giving money to our enemies," he said.
Values Voters attendees could be heard before and after his speech remarking that if Cain were to become the GOP nominee, for the first time in history two African American candidates would face each other in a presidential election.
Cain recalled a conversation with a reporter Thursday where he was asked if he was angry about how he had been treated in the United States.
"I said, 'Sir, you don't get it. I have achieved all of my American dreams and then some, because of the greatest nation, the United States of America,'" he said.