Cain being written off too soon?

But on the Sunday talk shows, both Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum, no doubt jealous at Cain's run in the polls, took shots at the former Godfather's Pizza CEO, for his seemingly pro-choice remarks last week, when he initially said the choice of whether a woman should have an abortion should be left "to the family."

BACHMANN: I think it's been very troubling, because in the last few weeks, we've seen this happened time and time again with various statements.

And this is an issue you can't get wrong. The president of the United States can't get the abortion issue wrong, the life issue wrong. And President Obama's decision is that he's personally against abortion, but he doesn't believe that the government should intervene to protect human life.

That's essentially what Herman Cain said in his responses. He also came out and said that he was against protecting marriage between a man and a woman, and then he later came out and said he misspoke and said no, he's for it.

Then we also know that he gave an interview to Wolf Blitzer, when he had said that he would be open to negotiating with the terrorists that are in Guantanamo Bay, which includes, by the way, the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

You can't do that as president of the United States. You can't have all of these flip-flops in our nominee, one after another. And it's making the voters' heads spin.

I think it's giving people pause, and they're asking real questions about, what does he believe, truly, and how would he govern as president of the United States? And I can tell you, here in Iowa, people want to make sure that our nominee is 100 percent pro-life, 100 percent standing for marriage between a man and a woman, and they certainly don't want to see terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed released from Guantanamo Bay. That's non-negotiable. It's among the other items that have come out lately.

on CBS's Face the Nation, Rick Santorum admitted that Cain "is for real," but said that conservatives really need to study his record, such as it is.

RICK SANTORUM: - this week, I mean, he supported the Wall Street bailout. You know if you want look at the Tea Party, the Tea Party is one of its origins was opposing the Wall Street bailout. And— and Herman supported the Wall Street bailout; I mean, someone who wants to impose a national sales tax. I don't think conservative— I haven't met— talked to one conservative or seen one conservative come out and say, gee, this is a great idea to impose a national sales tax. Even those who supported his plan originally say, you know, it's probably not a good idea. And then you go— you look at his comments on— on the issue of life. The issue of the Second Amendment, he gave an interview recently saying this he's for the Second Amendment, but states should be able to— to put— to pass whatever laws to control guns. You can't be for— be pro-life and then say people have a choice to do whatever they want. And this is the kind of seemingly trying to have, you know, be all things to all people. That— I think conservatives aft— after they look at his record and look at what he believes in are going to question whether he really is a conviction conservative on particularly some of these moral-cultural issues and— and Second Amendment issues.

Politico reports that Cain was in Iowa this weekend, which his lack of campaign infrastructure is almost as bare as people advising him on public policy. And his gaffes are being noticed.

“All we have to weigh with him is really his words,” said Bob Vander Plaats, a leading Iowa Christian activist. “He cannot have a consistency of flubs. Then the question arises, ‘Do you really know what you believe?’ Because we’re looking for someone who has the consistency so they can execute on the consistency once they’re in office.”

But George W. Bush's former pollster, Matthew Dowd, said on ABC's This Week that Herman Cain shouldn't be so easily written off:

DOWD: And Cain's rise had nothing to do with 9-9-9 plan. Cain's rise has to do with the attributes that the Republicans like in him. He's an outsider. He's a businessman. He's likable. And he seems to enjoy the fight. All of those things aren't — nobody else has. That's why he's rising.

I think he has a huge forgiveness factor among the Republican electorate, and he's going to be able to trip himself up a number of times.

AMANPOUR: Really? Even in this day and age?

DOWD: Even (inaudible) because I think they say an outsider can make mistakes. He'll hit a tipping point, if he keeps at up, at some point, but right now, they're going to forgive him because he's an outsider

The increased scrutiny on Herman Cain since he became a co-front runner (along with Mitt Romney) for the GOP presidential nomination has not been kind to him, based on the number of mea culpas he's issued out in the past week.

But has it really hurt him?

With the media, which is where most people get their information, Cain is being picked apart for his inconsistencies or simply poor choice of words on a number of fronts, beginning a week ago with his call for electrifying a border fence that he then tried to say initally was a joke, and then followed up by saying, well, it might actually work.

HIs comments on abortion are getting him in hot water, but maybe somebody ought to tell the (relatively meager amount of) voters, who at least in straw polls continue to show their love.

Cain only became serious when he took home the Florida P-5 straw poll a month ago. And that was by getting 37 percent out of less than 3,000 people in that vote, hardly a representative total of the Florida GOP electorate. This weekend in Las Vegas he took another straw poll, this one called the Western Republican Leadership Conference straw poll, taking 31 percent of the 552 people who actually participated.


Since 1988, CL Tampa Bay has served as the free, independent voice of Tampa Bay, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming a CL Tampa Bay Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today because you love us, too.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.