Transcript: Q & A with Herman Cain
Elections Coordinator John Irwin sat down with former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain following Cain’s Tuesday night speech at Plachta Auditorium.
On Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s comments that 47 percent of voters are “dependent upon government:”
It is accurate. It is a fact. It is a non-story. He simply said what is true, and he gets attacked for telling the truth. So my response to that is: “Gov. Romney, keep telling the truth.” It got spun as saying, “Oh, he doesn’t care about the 47 percent.” He never said that. He simply said, which is a true statement, and I would’ve said the same thing: He’s not going to spend a lot of resources trying to convince many of those people to vote for him. Why should he? He shouldn’t, and then he gets criticized for that. But the way it got spun by the mainstream media was “He doesn’t care about the 47 percent.” That is a lie. He does care about the 47 percent.
Let me ask you a question. The man that would recess his company to go look for the daughter of an employee, you’re saying he doesn’t care about people who might be struggling? A man who helped a family with a sick child until that child was healed, you’re going to tell me he doesn’t care about those who do not have? It doesn’t make any sense. So I thought it was a non-story to begin with, and now some people are trying to call it a gaffe. If the truth is a gaffe, then keep on gaffing because most of the American people want to hear the truth. I do, and that’s why we’re doing this Truth Tour.
On what he would be doing differently than Romney as Republican nominee:
If I was the Republican nominee, I would be talking about replacing the tax code, not just cutting the rates. That is the one thing that I keep encouraging him to do. People want a bolder plan to start job creation in this country. And even if he doesn’t say what those plans will be, I respect that. I think the narrative ought to be, “We need to replace the tax code.” That’s the one thing that I would be doing differently. Other than that, I think Gov. Romney is doing a good job. He’s running a good campaign. But here’s something that a lot of people don’t realize about a presidential campaign, which is why I’m not like a lot of other conservatives, as John McCain says, who want to, you know, rip Romney. No, running for president is like drinking from a fire hydrant. And it’s easy for someone to take a speech and find one sentence and make a story out of it when you’re trying to drink out of the fire hydrant. That’s what people don’t understand. So I understand and am sensitive to all of the things that he’s trying to deal with.
On how the Republican Party can reach out to the African-American community:
(I would do) the same thing that I’m doing on this college tour. Just tell people the facts and the truth. Many African-Americans, many people, don’t know the true facts about this economy, the true facts about unemployment. The black community, some of them don’t know that the unemployment rate in the black community is twice the national average. They need to know these things. Some of them don’t realize that they’re worse off than they were four years ago. Just tell people the facts and tell them the truth, and they will make their decisions. I don’t believe you have to pander to any particular group. I believe you have to be truthful with every group. Jack Kemp, who is a friend of mine, and I worked with him back in the early 1990s on the National Economic Growth and Tax Reform Commission, one of the phrases he has popularized, though other people have said it: “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Let’s raise the tide for everybody. Replace the tax code, energy independence, and begin to get serious about cutting debt. That’s how you help everybody.
On President Barack Obama’s handling of the killings of four Americans, including Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, in Benghazi, Libya, in response to a YouTube video portraying Islam as a fraud:
I would rate President Obama’s handling of the situation in the Middle East a flat-out “F.” Failure. There are a lot of reasons why. Number one: his policy of appeasement, confusion and weakness. Secondly, for his administration to respond as slowly as they did to the facts says that somebody didn’t have a grasp of the situation, and somebody did not do an assessment that this could happen. I think enough people knew that it could happen that more should have happened. It is inexcusable to have an ambassador and four Americans in a less-than-secure area knowing that the possibility of this could happen. So, I’m sorry, if you’re president of the United States, you’re the commander-in-chief. The first responsibility is to protect our citizens all over the world, and that did not happen. And I don’t accept the blame game. Somebody didn’t do their job: Him. When you don’t go to security briefings and Americans get killed, I’m sorry. I can’t give him a pass on that. Some people do. When you would rather not meet with the prime minister of Israel and go on a campaign stop, I’m sorry. I can’t give him a pass on that. Do I need to say anymore about how I really feel about this? How about “F’? Failure. Flat-out fail.
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