They’re in a bind: Like most insurgent candidates, Cain is an elusive target. He’s not a politician with a record to pick apart. Rather, he’s a highly likable figure who seems to be tapping into a deep vein of anti-Washington anger without seeming very angry himself. There’s also a complicating factor: he is a viable African-American candidate in a party that has a complicated history with racial politics…
“I would treat him with great respect; I would say, ‘He’s an extraordinary businessman, but here are some fallacies to the ideas. He’s a guy who’s not been around government, and running a pizza empire is not the same as running a government,’” Rollins said, adding that candidates should push hard on his “naiveté” but “never make it personal.”
But there’s danger in that, too, especially for current and former members of Congress like Newt Gingrich, Bachmann and Santorum.
“‘You’re naive, you don’t understand how Washington works,’ plays right into his hands,” warned Steve Murphy, who managed former Democratic House Leader Dick Gephardt’s 2004 campaign as it tried to distinguish itself against Howard Dean. “It makes the point that they’re of Washington and he’s not.”