Local News

Cain Has Attributes To Be U.S. Ambassador, Former Raleigh Mayor Says

Posted July 18, 2005 6:17 a.m. EDT

— A high-profile Raleigh attorney is on his way to becoming the nation's ambassador to Denmark.

Confirmation hearings were held on Capitol Hill Monday for Jim Cain, who was instrumental in bringing professional hockey to North Carolina.

"He knew what the community needed," said former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer. "He knew what the fans needed; he delivered it."

Now, those close to Cain believe he has all the attributes to be the next U.S. ambassador to Denmark.

"He is well-spoken. He makes a good presentation. He is the ultimate diplomat," Fetzer said. "He is the consummate professional."

Cain is also a successful political fundraiser.

Last summer, Cain was the major fundraiser for President George W. Bush's re-election campaign in North Carolina. He raised more than $2 million to help return Bush to office.

Observers say Bush is rewarding Cain with a key official post.

"It has been this way in America for the last several hundred years," said Chris Heaggerty, of the Center for Voter Education.

Cain's friends, however, say he received the nomination because he is right for the job.

"There are a lot of people who raise money for presidents," Fetzer said. "Not all of them are well-suited to be an ambassador."

At a Senate hearing Monday, Cain touted his wide range of experience.

Political analysts believe the ambassadorship will fill a void on Cain's résumé -- government experience.

"This is at least one way for him to say, 'I have served in a governmental role. I've managed a governmental office in Denmark,'" said David McLennan, a political analyst at Peace College.

That could prove useful if Cain decides to run for political office himself. Cain has been mentioned as a likely candidate for governor in 2008.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote and then the nomination moves to the full Senate for confirmation.