(Photo: REUTERS/Joe Skipper)
Herman Cain acknowledged on Sunday that his support for the Republican presidential nomination had dropped but for that he held “false accusations” and media’s “confusion” over his positions on key issues responsible.
“Well, obviously false accusations and confusion about some of my positions has contributed to it,” Cain said during CNN’s “State of the Union” program Sunday when Candy Crowley mentioned that he no longer had a front-runner status according to polls.
At least four women recently alleged that Cain sexually harassed them when he was the president of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. But Cain insists he was wrongfully accused.
“I’ve been real clear … But a lot of confusion has been thrown my way and that’s part of the – part of politics, as they say,” the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO said.
“In terms of the mechanics of the campaign, nothing has gone wrong,” he added. “Some people are heavily influenced by perception more so than reality.”
With 14 percent of the vote, Cain stood third in a last week’s poll by Quinnipiac University. The poll shows that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the preferred nominee of 26 percent of Republican voters, with former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney in second place with 22 percent.
Cain has been criticized for his positions on some issues that are dear to conservative Americans. Defending his Oct. 19 statement to CNN that although he opposed abortion “it’s not the government’s role or anybody else’s role to make that decision,” Cain said he was “taken out of context.” He said he believes that life begins “from conception, no exceptions,” but admitted it was a “poor choice of words in retrospect.”
The Florida straw poll winner also sought to clarify his calls for “targeted identification” of potential terrorists at airports. “If we go to the intelligence agencies and ask them to identify the people that have tried to hurt us, kill us, blow up our planes and things of this nature, they could do that,” he said. “So ‘targeted identification,’ in my mind, is different from profiling, because profiling has been used in a very negative way.”
Cain also distanced himself from Gingrich’s recent remarks on the need for a “humane” policy to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants. “No, Candy, I’m not going where Newt Gingrich is,” Cain told Crowley when she asked how he would deal with illegal immigrants.
“The way I would deal with those that are already here, which has been my stated position: Empower the states to deal with the illegals that are already here – not some big, grandiose, national one-size-fits-all.” He said the states are already empowered to deal with them.