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RENO - Mark Block, the campaign strategist who became a minor Internet sensation when the Herman Cain campaign last year released an online-only advertisement featuring Block smoking a cigarette, was watching Cain at a rally in Reno on Monday afternoon, a Marlboro Light in hand.

The famous ad was shot outside a Las Vegas hotel when Cain was still a Republican candidate for president. The film crew was supposed to be filming Cain, Block said, but the candidate was busy.

Instead, Block was filmed speaking directly to the camera, then taking a drag and leisurely exhaling.

"I still can't go anywhere without anybody asking for an autograph on a cigarette," he said.

Cain spoke Monday at an anti-Obama rally hours after the president delivered remarks here. Cain called supporters of the president "the stupid people" and vowed to help defeat Obama.

Speaking with reporters after the rally, Cain defended Republican Mitt Romney from calls for him to release more than two years of tax returns. He said people only want to see them to nitpick.

Besides, Cain said, "I love the fact that the guy is rich."


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