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Herman Cain Confronts Racial Issues

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain took on a Republican rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and President Barack Obama on two separate race-related issues Sunday.

The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO denounced Perry over allegations in a Washington Post story about the name of a hunting camp Perry used. According to the report, the name included a racial slur and was painted on a rock at the camp’s gated entrance for years after Perry began bringing lawmakers, friends and supporters there in the early 1980s.

“That’s just very insensitive. There isn’t a more vile, negative word than the N word, and for him to leave it there as long as they did — before, I hear, that they finally painted over it — is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country,” Cain said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Perry has said the name was painted over shortly after his family began using the hunting camp, but the Post cited seven people who said the racially offensive name was visible on the rock for years after it became associated with Perry.

Cain also took on Obama, saying the president’s recent speech to the Congressional Black Caucus was “insulting” because Obama was “scolding them.” Cain made the charges in reference to criticisms about a recent comment the Republican made that some black voters were too “brainwashed” to support him.

“The fact that they say that word [brainwashed] is insensitive, that’s not as insensitive as the president of the United States standing in front of a major black audience, the Congressional Black Caucus, and scolding them,” Cain said to Fox host Chris Wallace. “Because his policies have failed the country, his policies have failed black people. That’s more insensitive, that’s more insulting to me, rather than using the term ‘brainwashed.’ It’s their only weapon, Chris, to try and silence me, because I’m a conservative.”

Cain defended his “brainwashed” comments further on ABC’s “This Week.”

“If the word is inflammatory, that’s too bad. It is true,” Cain said. “And here’s why: because some black people won’t even listen to someone who appears to be a conservative or a Republican. I call that brainwashing.”

He added, “I also said the good news is a large percentage of black people are thinking for themselves.”

Cain also took shots at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The Republican has repeatedly rejected speculation that he could run for president in 2012, but recent news reports indicate he may be reconsidering.

Cain said Sunday that Christie is too liberal for the GOP primary electorate. 

“I believe that a lot of conservatives, once they know his position on those things you delineated, they will not be able to support him,” Cain said on Fox. “So I think that that is absolutely a liability for him if he gets in the race.”

Christie has relatively liberal positions on gun control, immigration and climate change, Cain added.

“As you go right down the line, he’s going to turn off a lot of conservatives,” he said. 

Cain said on ABC that he wasn’t worried that a Christie campaign could cut into his own base.

“Come on down, as they say, to use Bob Barker’s term. And here’s why. I respect Gov. Christie. He has basically distinguished himself because he’s not afraid to tell like it is, like me,” Cain said, “It doesn’t concern me in terms of what it might do to my momentum, because one thing that we’ve learned about people who support Herman Cain, they do not defect.”

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