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Herman Cain lands a 'lucky penny' from a GOP lawmaker

November 02, 2011|By James Oliphant
  • Herman Cain is swarmed by reporters in the Rayburn office building on Capitol Hill.
Herman Cain is swarmed by reporters in the Rayburn office building on Capitol… (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters )

If anyone needs a piece of good luck, it's Herman Cain. And on Wednesday, maybe he got one.

Cain was already having a tough day. A campaign appearance earlier Wednesday in northern Virginia had ended in a small shouting match with reporters after Cain refused to answer questions about the sexual harassment allegations that have dogged him all week.

Another phalanx of reporters awaited him in a corridor of the Rayburn House office building, where Cain was scheduled to deliver some remarks. The topic on the agenda was healthcare, but the cameras weren't there for that.

But unbeknownst to the cameramen, Cain was just hundreds of feet away, walking down another corridor, accompanied by just a few aides. He stopped to introduce himself to Rep. John J. "Jimmy" Duncan of Tennessee, a Republican who has been in the House for more than 20 years.

Duncan told Cain that he had wanted to attend his healthcare talk but had another commitment. Then he pressed a small coin in Cain's palm and said, "Let me give you a lucky penny. You keep this with you, and you'll never lose an election."

Cain accepted the coin. And the two parted ways.

Duncan carries the coins with him, which consist of a penny mounted within a circular shell. Inscripted on the shell are the words "Keep me and you will have good luck." Duncan's name adorns the other side.

Duncan said he had never met Cain before. "He seems like a good guy," he said.

The coins obviously seem to be working for Duncan. In his time in Congress since 1988, he's never faced a serious challenge to his reelection.

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