In the aftermath of his big Florida straw poll victory, Herman Cain appeared on Fox with Neil Cavuto, who asked Cain to respond to actor Morgan Freeman’s contention that the Tea Party was based on racism. Cain, who is a favorite at Tea Party events and who owed his remarkable victory yesterday to Tea Party activism, told Cavuto that being a great actor doesn’t always equate to having a grasp on reality. Cain declined to take offense, as Newsbusters reports, and instead focused on the desperation from the old-guard hard Left who just assumed that the race card was a winning trump that was exclusively theirs:
NEIL CAVUTO: Morgan Freeman, the actor, has been very critical of Tea Parties, and said that what they’re doing is racist based, and going after and unseating Obama has at its underpinnings racism. I’m paraphrasing here, but what do you make of that argument?
HERMAN CAIN: Well, first of all, I doubt if Morgan Freeman, with all due respect, who is a great actor, has he ever been to a Tea Party? Most of the people that are criticizing the Tea Parties, Neil, about having a racist element, they have never been to a Tea Party.
CAVUTO: But wait a minute, wait a minute. He has played, wait, wait, wait. He has played a President of the United States.
CAIN: Oh. Great, yeah, in a movie. This is real life out here on the campaign trail, man. This is not a movie.
CAVUTO: So, are you offended by that?
CAIN: No, I’m not offended by it. I just, I just think that it is sad that they’re so short-sighted in really understanding what the whole Tea Party citizen movement is all about. I’m not offended by it, because it doesn’t slow down my momentum. It doesn’t slow down the reaction that I get from people. They know that I bring my message from the heart and the head, and they’re responding to it. So, name calling is something that’s going to continue in this because they don’t know how to stop this movement. And this movement is making a big difference in politics, because a lot of the traditional Democrats are moving to the center or moving over to vote for conservatives. They’re taking another look at a Herman Cain.
Of course, Cain can afford to be a little magnanimous after surprising everyone by winning the P5 poll yesterday — and not just winning, but blowing out the rest of the field. Rick Perry had campaigned hard and personally but could only get 15% for a 22-points-back second place, and less than two points ahead of Mitt Romney, who didn’t campaign for the straw poll. The P5 straw poll only had a small level of participation, but that’s something that usually plays into the hands of Ron Paul, not Herman Cain. Had Perry won this event, it wouldn’t have been terribly big news, but to have Cain leap out of the second tier to crush his opponents while not usually being known as an organizer for these kind of events makes this more significant.
After Thursday’s debate, a lot of people thought Rick Santorum had seized the momentum, but I figured that Cain had made a much bigger splash. Santorum came in a distant fourth in the straw poll, while Michele Bachmann — who didn’t have a bad debate — came in dead last behind Jon Huntsman. This momentum may not last for Cain, but he’s making the case that he could win the nomination, and that might be the biggest hurdle to getting donors and supporters to line up behind him.