According to Michael Johnson, Herman Cain's new-media director, the following is a direct quote from an email he sent to Block explaining the concept:
"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."
Johnson went on to say that 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 ."
As for Block and the cigarette (which, by the way, is a legal substance also enjoyed occasionally by the current Commander in Chief)? Johnson tells us that Block's official line is that it's "Mark Block being Mark Block."