Herman Cain bus
Herman Cain's "Solutions Resolution" bus at CPAC 2012 Sara Dover

We last heard from Herman Cain when he dropped out of the 2012 Republican presidential race and later endorsed Newt Gingrich.

But the former pizza magnate didn't mention the former House speaker in his CPAC 2012 speech at all. In fact, he didn't mention any candidates, except for a shoutout to Joe the Plumber a.k.a. Joe Wurzelbacher, who is running for the House in Ohio. Cain arrived at the annual conservative conference Thursday to remind everyone he still exists - and, no, he hasn't given up on 9-9-9.

Stupid people and ignorant people are both ruining America, he cried on stage in the Mariott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., to a full house, proclaiming he was raising an army of Davids to fight for his cause.

Instead of a campaign bus, Cain is now traveling across the country in a huge Solutions Resolution bus, bright red and plastered with Cain's smiling face. It was parked right in front of the hotel Thursday morning so everyone saw it on their way to registration.

Cain may have been saying the same old things he's been saying for the past year, but attendees at the Conservative Political Action Committee said that's why they liked him.

Greg Bokar, an 18-year old student attending CPAC, said he thought Cain was much like Sarah Palin in the way he was able to relate with the audience.

He appeals to conservatives and Republicans in the same way Sarah Palin does, emotionally, not necessarily as a candidate, he said. I don't think either one of them will ever become president of our country, but I think they will become faces of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.

The businessman dropped his campaign last December in the midst of sexual harassment and adultery allegations. At CPAC, he said he left the trail because of gutter politics and because he chose family first.

Despite the different bus and different context, Cain has not given up the fight to implement 9-9-9, his signature tax plan that struck Americans with its catchiness and simplicities. But Cain hasn't changed his plan in the slightest. Urging a baby-step approach, he called for people to adopt it and make it yours by reaching out to their representatives.

Many Republicans and economists said it was unrealistic that a tax plan that only called for 9 percent tax on income, a 9 percent business tax and a 9 percent national sales tax to work. But the Solutions Resolution team is very serious about spreading the 9-9-9 gospel.

Solutions operations staffer Vicki Temple said the group is drafting a bill right now and they hope to get it passed in Congress in the first 99 days of next year.

It's been going great. We've got senators and congressman signing a pledge that they will support 9-9-9, and if they support 9-9-9, we're going to support them in the election.

Whether you believe that or not might not matter - for some conservatives, it's the thought that counts.

I think it's a good idea. I think at this point it's becoming kind of a joke, but I think he's pushing the message, said Bokar. If nothing else, it's pushing the importance of having a plan rather than just flying by the seat of your pants.