According to former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain, the “have-nots will take care of themselves.”

Cain, who previously served as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, spoke to a packed Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall in a Yale Political Union debate on Tuesday night. During his address, the businessman-turned-politician hailed the Founders, decried big government and cited his father’s story as proof that the “American dream” lives on.

The United States today is divided not between the “haves and have-nots,” he said, but rather between the political class and the working class.

“How do you get economic growth? You get government out of the way,” Cain said.

The government creates barriers to economic success through taxes and regulations, said Cain, who was a front-runner in the 2012 Republican primary for several weeks before he dropped out of the race following accusations of sexual harassment and infidelity. If the government steps aside, he added, the “have-nots” will find opportunities for prosperity. Churches and other private organizations, rather than the government, should be in charge of assistance for the poor, he added.

Cain also spoke about the principles of the nation’s Founding Fathers, as well as the phrase “All men are created equal,” adding that the country has made significant strides in achieving equality.

In an interview with the News after the event, Cain said he found students’ vocal reaction to his talk to be “awesome” and that he was happy to help students think about issues in new ways.

Students interviewed said they enjoyed Cain’s talk because it was fun yet provocative.

Christopher Cappello ’17 said the speech was “kind of hilarious” and that the Republican candidate remains “an unpredictable enigma.”

Cain is “definitely a character,” said James Badas ’17, and he kept attendees entertained throughout the speech.

Nick Styles ’14, a member of the YPU, said he was impressed by Cain’s willingness to engage with students.

Cain is the second 2012 presidential contender to speak at the YPU. Rick Santorum, a former Republican senator from Pennsylvania, addressed the group in September.