Herman Cain clarifies, sort of: “I am 100% pro-life. End of story.”

posted at 8:45 pm on October 20, 2011 by Allahpundit

It’s a nice try but this doesn’t jibe with the exchange between him and Piers Morgan.

Yesterday in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, I was asked questions about abortion policy and the role of the President.

I understood the thrust of the question to ask whether that I, as president, would simply “order” people to not seek an abortion.

My answer was focused on the role of the President. The President has no constitutional authority to order any such action by anyone. That was the point I was trying to convey.

As to my political policy view on abortion, I am 100% pro-life. End of story.

I will appoint judges who understand the original intent of the Constitution. Judges who are committed to the rule of law know that the Constitution contains no right to take the life of unborn children.

I will oppose government funding of abortion. I will veto any legislation that contains funds for Planned Parenthood. I will do everything that a President can do, consistent with his constitutional role, to advance the culture of life.”

No one on either side is arguing that the president has a constitutional power to issue executive orders barring women from having abortions. I’ve never heard even a diehard pro-lifer suggest that, so in essence, he wants you to believe here that he was responding with a point that no one disputes to a question that no one ever asks. Which means either he’s lying about what he understood Morgan’s question to mean or he’s so unacquainted with the most basic terms of the abortion debate that he genuinely felt obliged to reassure Americans that he won’t be sending the FBI to pregnant women’s homes to make sure they carry to term. Bad, bad news either way.

Beyond that, though, it’s simply not true that his response to Morgan was couched in terms of the limits of presidential power. Go back and watch the clip again. Morgan asks him what he’d want his daughter or granddaughter to do and Cain quickly arrives at this answer:

No, it comes down to is, it’s not the government’s role — or anybody else’s role — to make that decision. Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidents, you’re not talking about that big a number. So what I’m saying is, it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president. Not some politician. Not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn’t try to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive decision.

He’s talking about the entire government, not just the presidency, and of course it’s a core argument for pro-lifers that Congress should act to make this decision on behalf of women if/when Roe v. Wade is overturned. A moment later he told Morgan that his opinion as president shouldn’t necessarily operate as a “directive” on the nation, but then he was back to broad language about government again: “The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to a social decision that they need to make.” No pro-choicer could say it any better. How did we get from that to “I am 100% pro-life, end of story” in the span of 24 hours?

Question, then: Does this hurt him at all, and if it does, has the damage been done to his social conservative credibility or to his overall credibility, i.e. the basic belief that presidential candidates are fully engaged on complex but essential issues? For now, the rest of the field is attacking him on the former point. Santorum questioned his pro-life cred earlier this morning and then Perry, who desperately needs Cain to fade in social-con bastions like Iowa and South Carolina, issued this statement:

The campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry has responded to Cain’s comments, with Perry communications director Ray Sullivan saying, “A number of the Republicans candidates have flip flopped or been tripped up on the abortion issue. Governor Perry has been proudly pro-life for his entire career, successfully working to pass a parental consent law, a pre-abortion sonogram law, and defund Planned Parenthood in the state budget.”

That’s awfully timid. Let’s see what happens at the next debate. Until then, read HuffPo’s report on the reaction of Iowa social conservatives to what Cain told Morgan. Exit quotation from talk-radio host Steve Deace: “Cain is good at regurgitating talking points, but when he is forced to explain what he believes the devil is usually found in the details. Based on the testimony of his own words, Cain is neither ready, willing, nor able to honor the oath of office required of a President of the United States.”

Update: David Freddoso’s also underwhelmed by Cain’s spin and wonders how he’d fare in a debate with Obama.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

From an outsider’s perspective (I am in UK), Cain seems to be the most motivational, high-intensity and energetic candidate of them all, who gets standing ovations when he speaks and leaves people feeling good about themselves. Isn’t this exactly what America needs right now to get back on the right track – a strong dose of positivity and purpose? Certainly looks like it from here…

sceptical on October 21, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Are these cracks starting to show in Cain’s views as he starts to get heavily vetted like the current and past candidates? We’ll see how he responds.

g2825m on October 21, 2011 at 9:33 AM

sceptical on October 21, 2011 at 9:27 AM

I read recently that he went into motivational speaking after he retired as a corporate exec.

If he’s the nominee, look for the Left to make “Hitler was a great motivational orator too” comments.

Akzed on October 21, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Imagine Cain doing a reprise of his ‘Apples and oranges’ mantra in front of the whole country.
troyriser_gopftw on October 20, 2011 at 9:38 PM

He did do JUST that in front of the whole country…

Imagine Cain blowing a basic civics or history question–as he’s already done in interviews. Right of Return, anyone?

Cain isn’t ready. He isn’t prepared. He’ll lose. troyriser_gopftw on October 20, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Cain is going to go through the grinder like ANY potential president will have to…oh, wait, the last one did not have to…I digress.

g2825m on October 21, 2011 at 9:37 AM

. Isn’t this exactly what America needs right now to get back on the right track – a strong dose of positivity and purpose? Certainly looks like it from here…

sceptical on October 21, 2011 at 9:27 AM

No. Obama was voted for because he was a motivational speaker and made people feel good.

All one has to do is look at the 2010 landslide against the dems. People were making rational choices based on the idea that the federal government needs to cease taking the power from the states so that the power is localized. We are in a new era and it isn’t going away. This is why a RINO like Romney will probably be our nominee. Even though he enacted policies that are decidedly not conservative, he did it at the state level where the people had the most influence. And in MA 3 to 1 still like Romneycare. Romney has committed to shrink the federal government and return staying within the boundaries set forth by the constitution.

I am curious, being from the UK, do you understand what type of document the Constitution of the United States is? Is it a granting document or a limiting document?

csdeven on October 21, 2011 at 10:04 AM

“Sceptical”, the LAST thing this country needs is another empty suit who gives great speeches. That’s how we got Obama.

We need a conservative who actually knows the Constitution, believes in “unalienable rights” and “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans.

We need a Commander-in-Chief who realizes how dangerous it is to ever say he would consider negotiating with terrorists.

This is not a time for on-the-job training.

Cain doesn’t know what his core beliefs are. He is not prepared to be president.

bigred on October 21, 2011 at 10:09 AM

not matter what… who ever the nominee is …. I AM NOT VOTING FOR OBAMA….

charmingtail on October 21, 2011 at 10:41 AM

I am staunchly pro-life and this all just seems to be a tempest in a teapot to me. Just sayin’ BTW I’ve never known the media to try to distract voters from anything/

txmomof6 on October 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Cain is going to go through the grinder like ANY potential president will have to…oh, wait, the last one did not have to…I digress.

g2825m on October 21, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Obama has instead put us through the grinder.

Ward Cleaver on October 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM

csdeven on October 21, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Actually on my last trip to New York in July, I bought a copy of the Constitution just to remind myself – and answering your question, it clearly defines limits on powers of the presidency, houses of congress, states etc. Do I pass the test?

bigred on October 21, 2011 at 10:09 AM

As I understand it, Cain said he could conceive of doing a prisoner exchange deal such as Israel and Hamas just did, but also made it clear after the interview that he would not negotiate with terrorists. Both positions seem to me to be independently sensible and not necessarily contradictory, because sometimes it is necessary, even though deeply unpalatable, to do a deal for some long-term benefit though you start from the position of not negotiating.

My country has experience of this with the IRA, where we have achieved peace and a political settlement with the IRA’s representatives in Northern Ireland after years of troubles. In the US, the examples of Reagan with Iran/Contra, Bush with Gaddafi, Obama with Taliban etc. show the same factors at work. Recently ETA, the Basque terrorist/separatists in Spain, have just completed a successful negotiation with the Spanish government. It may not be nice, but talking to the bad guys sometimes has to happen.

From here, I see many virtues in other GOP candidates, but I do like Mr Cain. Any of them are not-Obama and thus would be better for America and the world, in my view.

sceptical on October 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM

The only way Cain won’t make any mistakes is if he carried a teleprompter around. I don’t want TOTUS Part Deux.

moonsbreath on October 21, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Herman is a friendly man who desires to save this Country from its political class. He is always upbeat and sees every person as worth his time.

The challenge he is responding to is a severe one.

Look at Egypt today where the Mubarak’s Military is still arranging things to gather up wealth and leave before the crash. What they are doing is what our political class has been doing for 12 years now.

Seeing the crash coming, our political class has sold out to the highest bidder for wealth to create their personal life boats…leaving the middle class to sink with the ship.

Herman is not a politician. He is an intelligent and personable man who wants to lead the country back to prosperity.

What is strange is that he is the only one willing to fight for us and not for money. So faults and all, I trust my friend.

Herman came through stage 4 cancer from 2006 through 2009, and he is as dedicated now to do what he can to bring us through stage 4 political ruin.

There is NO chance Herman will assist Romney in getting elected to impose cap and trade and health insurance mandates.

jimw on October 21, 2011 at 11:38 AM

So back to Perry until he says something utterly stupid to insult the electorate again… then maybe Bachmann until she says something mildly tone deaf, then off to Newt until he’s asked to address the fact he cheated on two wives and so on…

scotash on October 21, 2011 at 4:27 AM

Perry, Newt or Bachmann would make better presidents than the opportunistic and fork-tongued Herman Cain. Watching him trying to weasel out of his stance/non-stance on abortion was sickening. I learned all I needed to know about Mr. Cain’s character watching the Stossel clip.

Punchenko on October 21, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Like I said, Hotair has been in the tank for Perry. I find it funny they don’t troll around for Perry’s dirt. the guy was a liberal until 2000, but Hotair conveniently never asks a question about that.

They only attack Romney and Cain.

Chudi on October 21, 2011 at 12:11 PM

They only attack Romney and Cain.

Chudi on October 21, 2011 at 12:11 PM

No one wants a Romney/Cain ’12 turd sandwich which is exactly what the Establishment GOP and their allies are fixing to serve.

Punchenko on October 21, 2011 at 12:19 PM

How about Herman Cain being an associated pastor at the mega church in Atlanta where the minister touts Malcolm X? Are we making that up as well as his ties to moderate Dems in FL when one of them Serano is friends with Chavez and Castro.

Maybe some of us looked into Cain’s background and refused to take what he or any other candidate that we don’t know at face value.

Cain turned me off about the rock on Perry when he refused to apologize plus he is very thin skinned and his plan is not to be attacked. Did he defend his 9-9-9 SimCity plan? No — he throws in more deductions. Stand on principle for what you have, don’t go flip flopping. Cain can dish it out like he did to Perry but he cannot take any criticism just like the man in the White House.

Yet some of you want this inexperienced person in government as the nominee? Why? Just because someone says they are conservative doesn’t make them so. Romney says he is conservative which is a joke. In 2002, Romney was totally pro-choice in his ads running for Governor and now less that ten years later he is pro-life. He is a flip flopper like Kerry.

When a candidate cannot make a statement they are pro-life and try to weasel word, you can bet that is not a core principle. How hard is it to say I am pro-life period. Not try to explain.

PhiKapMom on October 21, 2011 at 12:32 PM

PhiKapMom…You must be a Phd. Because you are Piling it Higher and Deeper today.

Herman has been on nightly on WSB in Atlanta for 3 years.To everyone who listened to him, your scare tactics that Herman is not a conservative are pathetic by association with people who associated with people.

What you see in Herman is what he has always been. Did you see the video of him confronting Bill Clinton on single payer HillaryCare in 1993, thus showing that he was a conservative/realist 18 years ago?

jimw on October 21, 2011 at 12:51 PM

America doesn’t want the government to be in charge of pregnancy. Period.

Go ahead and have whatever opinion of abortion that you have. You have that right. The government didn’t decide for you and shove it down your throat.

They only attack Romney and Cain.

Perry pretty much attacks Perry every time he opens his mouth.

Moesart on October 21, 2011 at 1:21 PM

When a candidate cannot make a statement they are pro-life and try to weasel word, you can bet that is not a core principle. How hard is it to say I am pro-life period. Not try to explain.

PhiKapMom on October 21, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Did you even watch the interview? Or are you taking the media’s cutting of the clip at face value? Cain was specifically responding to a question about young rape victims.

MaggiePoo on October 21, 2011 at 1:23 PM

I give up. Two elections in a row without a competent conservative on either ticket. Congratulations, left, on whatever happens on election night 2012.

Crusty on October 21, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Did you even watch the interview? Or are you taking the media’s cutting of the clip at face value? Cain was specifically responding to a question about young rape victims.

MaggiePoo on October 21, 2011 at 1:23 PM

The media isn’t cutting the clip. You are trying to defend the indefensible and it is disgusting. Cain said he was pro-choice, retracted, and is now trying to save face. The man isn’t good for our party or our country.

Punchenko on October 21, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Did you even watch the interview? Or are you taking the media’s cutting of the clip at face value? Cain was specifically responding to a question about young rape victims.

MaggiePoo on October 21, 2011 at 1:23 PM

I am afraid I watched the clip and his clarification does not sound quite on the level. Unfortunately this was also the case with the racist rock incident. I have really felt that he is the best conservative in the field, but this type (mis)communication is starting to disturb me, I no longer know what he REALLY believes, if in fact he does believe in anything with real depth. I just don’t know, quite depressed with our choices.

neuquenguy on October 21, 2011 at 2:35 PM

it’s a core argument for pro-lifers that Congress should act to make this decision on behalf of women

As a pro-lifer I believe you’ve mistated my position. Congress makes no decision for any women. What pro-lifers believe is that there can be no decision made. Life, once conceived, may not be taken by anyone -including the government. The constitution severly limits both the individual and the governments’ abilty to decide any other way than to support the full rights of all innocent humans because they have been granted to all of us by Natures God in the very process of our creation.

The issue is one of authority and God alone is the author of all life. Our forefathers saw this as our core relationship with any government when they wrote the constitution as our rights coming from Natures God and not a benevolent political arrangement of any type..

No Supreme Court has any right to play magical socerer and devine mystical emanations from penumbras to allow such -the courts themselves cannot redefine our God-given rights recognized by the constitution. They are not the authors of life -they have no authority to overule Nature’s God.

No law, no man or woman, no president, no court, no dictator can change that -they can only defy nature’s God -at immeasurable cost.

That is what it means to be pro-life (as opposed to just being anti-abortion)

Don L on October 21, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Good enough for me.

“Honkie for Herman”

davidk on October 21, 2011 at 9:21 PM

Cain lies when he screws up. It is tiresome and his defensive tone that he is being miss-quoted or misunderstood is insulting.

borntoraisehogs on October 22, 2011 at 6:08 AM

It’s refreshing to see a candidate who hasn’t learned to parse his words according to political correctness.

I love the non-attorney candidate.

balkanmom on October 22, 2011 at 10:34 AM

<blockquoteNo Supreme Court has any right to play magical socerer and devine mystical emanations from penumbras to allow such -the courts themselves cannot redefine our God-given rights recognized by the constitution. They are not the authors of life -they have no authority to overule Nature’s God.

No law, no man or woman, no president, no court, no dictator can change that -they can only defy nature’s God -at immeasurable cost.

That is what it means to be pro-life (as opposed to just being anti-abortion)

>
Right on Don and any one weaseling around with rape or incest exceptions is pro-choice and can not claim to be pro life. Some women choose to kill their babies because they have other priorities or may have too many children already, some choose not to carry inside their body the growing mass of cells implanted by a monster rapist or sick family member;. We can allow no choice to murder babies. Either prolife of pro choice. Just because you think your the reason for the choice to kill a baby is an important one does not earn you a pass. Cain must announce all his court appointees must have as a mission , the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

borntoraisehogs on October 23, 2011 at 2:32 AM

Herman Cain – 100% pro-life but only 50% honest about his views on abortion !

Romney now looks the more honest of the two- of course he is pro-choice and suddenly flipped to pro-life in 2008 – but at the very least every one knows that he is the average RINO flip flopper who has no convictions what so ever on pro-life issues

But Herman Cain was supposed to be different – he was not a professional politician !!!! yeah, he is not- he still has not perfected the art of BS and his first attempt at it was so very clumsy and transparently stupid.

nagee76 on October 23, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3