Herman Cain’s improbable rise to the top of the Republican presidential pack probably lasted much longer than any political observer would ever have predicted. He does not, after all, have any political experience but does have a fondness for making pronouncements that raise eyebrows and make headlines. And if recent poll numbers are an indicator, like all good things, his front-runner status will likely soon come to an end. Cain says his campaign is stronger than ever, but also acknowledged his dip in the polls.
The former Godfather’s Pizza executive fell to third place in a national poll released by Quinnipiac University last week at 14 percent, behind rivals Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, who has taken over Cain’s lead.
Cain cited a comment he made about leaving abortion decisions up to the family if a mother’s life is at stake as an example of a position of his that had been “taken out of context” and stressed that he believes that there should be no exceptions for allowing abortion. He also has had to walk back on a proposal to erect a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border that would electrocute people attempting to illegally enter the United States.
But that hasn’t stopped Cain from continuing to suggest controversial proposals. The latest is a plan that would enable airport security personnel to apply “targeted identification” methods to identify potential terrorists, which critics have likened to racial profiling.
“If we go to the intelligence agencies and ask them to identify the people that have tried to hurt us, kill us, blow up our planes and things of this nature, they could do that,” he said, defending the plan Sunday. “So ‘targeted identification,’ in my mind, is different from profiling, because profiling has been used in a very negative way.”
CNN host Candy Crowley, however, disputed Cain’s logic and said that his plan sounded like “a little bit like ‘flying while Middle Eastern,’ not unlike, you know, ‘driving while black.’ ” But Cain insisted that’s not the case.
“I am not trying to identify a particular religion, a particular color, a particular ethnicity,” he said.
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(Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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