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By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 31, 2011 | 2 min read

Seldom has a quick puff on a cigarette attracted so much attention. But when the guy taking the puff on a TV commercial is Michael Block, chief of staff for would-be Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, whoa, what's all this about?

AdAge magazine talked to Michael Johnson, Herman Cain's new-media director, so here is is a direct quote from an email he sent to Block explaining the concept before the puff was filmed:

"I think it would be good to send out an email with a video attachment of you addressing what is going on and the need for people to help out over the next couple of weeks. We haven't done anything like this to this point, and I think it would serve as a way for people to get connected with the campaign on a more personal level."

According to Johnson , the videographer, Chris Burgard, "always tries to portray who a person really is when they are on camera, and I think this video does that." Hence the cigarette.

Online comments have ranged from "terrible" to "brilliant".Block's official line is that it's "Mark Block being Mark Block."

AdAge points out that a cigarette is a legal substance, also enjoyed occasionally by Obama, although he is said to be trying really hard to quit.

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