Louisville, KY: Bolstered by the success of former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain in early Republican polling, the founder of Papa John’s Pizza has decided to throw his hat into the presidential ring.

“Papa John” Schnatter, the 50 year old pizza mogul, announced his decision from his company’s headquarters this morning. “It’s time that Americans stand up and demand what’s best for our country. It’s time for us to realize that we don’t want the CEO of the 8th best pizza chain being responsible for running our nation… we want the CEO from the 3rd best pizza chain running our nation!” he stated in a press release.

Political analysts are already raving about the saucy, cheesy addition to the race. Myra Hoppenstacks, former aide and Assistant Deputy Director of Jellybeans to President Reagan, said, “The guy has a ton going for him. He was born in Indiana, and has the only profitable business in Kentucky. That wraps up the Midwestern vote. Plus, he sold a 1971 Camaro to finance his first store, so he’s got the redneck vote locked up. Plus, he’s a white guy, so he’s got something in common with 98% of the Presidential winners in US history.”

Democrats, however, have already voiced concern about ballot tampering. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada warned, “Listen, we’ve made it explicitly illegal for votes to be purchased with cash… but what about food? If, all across the nation, Papa John’s delivery drivers just happen to show up at polling locations with stacks of slightly-above-average pizzas to hand out to voters, what then?” However, the head of Papa John’s campaign, Harland Sanders, dismissed the claim as ridiculous, pointing out that their delivery drivers rarely arrive at both the time and location promised.

Papa John himself has begun developing his political platform, which includes a number of novel concepts. First is an immediate reduction of all Congressional salaries to minimum wage; he stated that since senators and representatives already receive millions of dollars in “tips” from unions and corporations, there is no need for them to have six-figure salaries.

Second is the abolishment of all federal regulation of the fast food industry. He stated, “It’s just crazy to have entire departments oversee food safety when the President is a food guy. I mean, would you worry about Wall Street if a former banking executive were in charge?”

Finally, in response to Cain’s “9-9-9” plan, Papa John offered a “7-7-7” plan to boost the economy. In it, people can either A. pay a flat 7% tax, B. work 7 days a year unpaid to benefit their poor bosses, or C. buy 7 large pizzas a week. (Editor’s note: Inept Owl reporters called their local Papa John’s store to ask about the “7-7-7 plan” and were offered a fantastic deal on a 1-topping pizza, breadsticks, and wings.)

In the meantime, the Tea Party has also begun looking for novel “outside-the-box” candidates for the 2012 election. The Tea Party initially considered Ronald McDonald as a potential option, but quickly realized that he was virtually indistinguishable from Michele Bachmann. It is now torn between the Jack in the Box, who has some questions regarding his propensity for disappearing and reappearing unexpectedly, or the Little Caesar’s mascot, pending verification of his birth certificate.