The Other McCain

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Right Online: Herman Cain Gets Candid

Posted on | June 19, 2011 | 26 Comments

MINNEAPOLIS — About 15 bloggers got a rare glimpse at an angry Herman Cain, when the Republican presidential candidate’s temper flared briefly during an informal press conference Saturday.

The normally genial Atlanta businessman became angry when Evan McMorris-Santoro, a writer for the liberal blog Talking Points Memo, asked whether Cain would apply “special precautions” in hiring Muslims.

“If you’re trying to make me lose my cool, you’re almost succeeding,” Cain said, after McMorris-Santoro raised the question — one Cain had addressed at some length to begin the press conference — and when the TMP writer attempted to reiterate the question, Cain roared back: “I never said I would use any special precautions!”

Cain then apologized for having raised his voice. The exchange between Cain and McMorris-Santoro comes at the 13:15 mark of this video provided by conservative blogger Nice Deb:

For three months, liberals have criticized Cain for remarks he made at a March event in Iowa in response to a question from Scott Keyes of the Think Progress blog:

KEYES: You came under a bit of controversy this week for some of the comments made about Muslims in general. Would you be comfortable appointing a Muslim, either in your cabinet or as a federal judge?
CAIN: No, I will not. And here’s why. There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government. This is what happened in Europe. And little by little, to try and be politically correct, they made this little change, they made this little change. And now they’ve got a social problem that they don’t know what to do with hardly.
The question that was asked that “raised some questions” and, as my grandfather said, “I does not care, I feel the way I feel.” I was asked, “what is the role of Islam in America?” I thought it was an odd question. I said the role of Islam in America is for those that believe in Islam to practice it and leave us alone. Just like Christianity. We have a First Amendment. And I get upset when the Muslims in this country, some of them, try to force their Sharia law onto the rest of us.

The question about Muslims was one of three points that Cain sought to clarify in his remarks at the beginning of his press conference. He also explained why he had been unwilling to sign a pledge offered by a pro-life group, saying that he is strongly pro-life, but had issues with the wording of the pledge; and he repeated his strong support for gun rights, which had been questioned by some Second Amendment activists. Taking questions from bloggers, Cain also discussed his disagreements with another 2012 GOP candidate, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, about the Federal Reserve system.

The press conference — with the candidate in shirtsleeves, sitting on a chair turned backward — followed Cain’s well-received speech at the fourth annual Right Online conference, hosted by Americans for Prosperity.

America is suffering “a severe deficiency of leaderships,” Cain said during the speech, which was interrupted several times by standing ovations.

“Small businesses . . . are hanging on for dear life,” Cain told the RightOnline crowd, assuring those struggling with the current recession: “Hold on . . . help is on the way.”


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