NPR logo Herman Cain's Aide In Viral Ad Has (Ahem) Blemished History

Herman Cain's Aide In Viral Ad Has (Ahem) Blemished History

Mark Block.

Herman Cain ad hide caption

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Herman Cain ad

Mark Block.

Herman Cain ad

Mark Block, the smoking aide to Herman Cain who stars in the campaign video that has gone viral, has the kind of personal history that typically makes people want to keep a low profile.

An Associated Press story by Ryan J. Foley and Shannon McCaffrey, reports that Block, Cain's chief of staff, was banned in Wisconsin for three years from running political campaigns. And that's not all. From the AP:

Block has been accused of voter suppression and was banned from running Wisconsin political campaigns for three years to settle accusations he coordinated a judge's re-election campaign with a special interest group.

Records show Block has faced foreclosure on his home, a tax warrant by the Internal Revenue Service and a lawsuit for an unpaid bill. He also acknowledges he was arrested twice for drunken driving.

Block explained to the AP that the foreclosure and drunk-driving arrests occurred during those political wilderness years when he couldn't work in politics and was getting by stocking shelves at a Target store.

He also has the distinction, in 1974, of being the first 18-year old elected to public office in Wisconsin when he was elected to a county board.

Now he has a much more dubious distinction, being the guy with the world- weary face who smoked a cigarette in that bizarre Cain commercial.

Maybe the ad will be remembered beyond the current election cycle, maybe not. But for now, Block, like his candidate, is getting the kind of attention he could have only dreamed about two months ago.