Another Abortion Gaffe from Herman Cain

I like Herman Cain the man, but his lack of clarity on the abortion issue is a deal-killer for me. His public pro-life position has been consistent over the years, but he keeps muddying the waters when asked about his own family members. He did it last week with Piers Morgan, and now here’s an interview today with The De Moines Register in which he does it again:

DR: Part of your 2004 Senate campaign focused on your stance against abortion, something you’ve struggled in recent days to articulate after an interview with Piers Morgan. What did you need to clarify in that interview?

CAIN: I am pro-life from conception. Abortions, no exceptions. That has been my official stand from the beginning. What Piers Morgan was trying to do was to pigeonhole me on, “Well, what if this was your granddaughter?” You know what? If it’s my granddaughter? Yes, this is my official position, and it’s always been that. If it’s my granddaughter? I used the word “choice.” And that’s where they jumped all over it. A family will make that choice. I was not talking about the whole big issue.

Either Cain misspoke, or he is pro-life in his official position but allows for “choice” when it comes to members of his own family. Those are the only two alternatives, and neither of them is acceptable for the person seeking to be the standard-bearer for the pro-life cause. I am not looking for a perfect candidate. But I am looking for one who is competent to articulate, defend, and promote the pro-life view. Two gaffes in two weeks is enough to tell me that Herman Cain is not the best person in the field to do that.


  • Derek

    I think it is 2 abortion gaffes in less than 1 week, actually. It is a problem for me too, but in order for it to be a deal killer, I have to balance this out with the fact that the other candidates all have “deal killers” for me too. Plus, this isn’t even as serious a problem as we had with George W. Bush, who lacked commitment on pro-life issues as well. He always left open the option to select key members of his cabinet, VP and to judicial appointees who were pro-choice. Plus, George W. Bush didn’t even have to explain a disconnect on the exclusion for rape victims, because he supported this! So lets not forget what pro-lifers have “let slip” in the past. Unfortunately, pro-lifers sometimes have to choose the least of two or more evils.

  • Jennifer

    Cain’s gaffe is that he answered the question on Piers Morgan correctly, but forgot when later questioned what it was. The question was about would he want his daughter keeping the baby if she were raped, not as to if he would want her to have an abortion. He replied that it was up to the family. This was replayed on yesterday’s Wretched Radio podcast.

  • Robert I Masters


    Some facts concerning yourself!

    You have not posted one positive thing on Herman Cain.

    You have several negative posts about Herman Cain.

    You are from Texas.

    Anyone can cut and splice a candidates words….Herman Cain was/ is / and always has been 100 percent prolife.

    Now go join Karl Rove in the country of Texas!!!!!

      • SMuschany

        What do you folks want him to say? “I will disown my own child if she has an abortion” ?!?!?

        I dont understand how folks can be so blinded by the issue of abortion that reason flies right out of the window. Herman Cain has been 100% pro-life, and has shown NO hint that he would not support such policies if elected as President. However he also is 100% correct that ultimately abortion comes down to a family making a choice. Even if we were to ban all abortions, the family (the mother) still would be faced with a CHOICE, either to obey the law and have the child, or not.

        Also, while I am 100% behind outlawing abortion on demand, and while I would not personally want to abort a child because of rape, I dont think we, as Christians, can demand a woman keep such a child. Should the child suffer for the sins of the father? No. But I also dont think anyone other than the mother and the family can make that decision. Trying to make it for her is proof of arrogant Christians who likely have never had anyone close to them be raped.

        Even if we allowed abortion in cases of rape/incest, as well as in cases where there is a abnormally severe health risk to the mother, by banning all others that would stop at least 95% of all abortions. Tell me how this would not be a good thing! And demanding that unless a candidate supports the ban on ALL abortions, for ANY reason, they wont be elected/supported by “Conservative Christianity”, is a short sighted ignorant foolish thing to do. I would rather have abortion on demand ended, and allow women (and their families) who have been raped or are in danger of dying to make a hard decision, than to keep abortion going because our standards are so high, we have lost sight of the true goal. Ending abortion ON DEMAND!

        • SMuschany

          This post was suppose to be a general reply, not to a specific post. Sorry about that, my browser is not acting correctly today.

        • Jason

          Articulate the “95% of all life is life” argument, SMuchany. We are not dealing with goals, we are dealing with the starting point.

          I think it is foolish to think that a person who can’t articulate the argument in an intramural debate will stand a snowball’s chance in hell of articulating the point when Planned Parenthood and the Democratic party are at the table.

      • Robert I Masters


        “Robert, I’m not from Texas and I find Cain very likable. ”

        Since you are not from Texas you would not understand the Texas loyalty thing.
        Richard Land of the SBC ERLC, and Robert Jeffress would be two other examples.

        “I was pre-disposed to favor Cain. I wanted to want him to by “my” candidate.”

        What does this mean?

        “But do you want to look me in the virtual eye and tell me he hasn’t repeatedly and badly bobbled a critical issue (A) which he should have expected and (B) on which he should have been loaded for bear?”

        Yes I will look you in the virtual eye and tell you that a) Herman Cain is 100 percent
        Pro-Life and b) I care not that in your eyes or in the liberals eyes he has badly bobbled a gotcha interview. If you read and listen to his speeches and watch his life you know what he believes about Abortion. For me its the End of Story.

        Question…. do you think any liberal believes he is pro-choice? Truth!!!!!

        The tide is turning……Praise God.

        BTW…..Tuition for illegals……Fail
        Being a Mormon…….Fail

        • Jason

          “I care not that in your eyes or in the liberals eyes he has badly bobbled a gotcha interview.”

          The voters will.

          We are not dealing in how we or you might think he feels about this or that. We are not dealing in what he says when he can say whatever he wants to say with no opposing viewpoints being given. We are dealing in what is probably the most flammable issue on the table, and to have a person who can’t articulate the opposing position when he is given two chances to do so – when it counts – is to assure that the case will not be well made, period.

          I, for one, don’t want another inarticulate President when the teleprompter is turned off.

  • Brad

    I think Herman Cain is saying that if his granddaughter got pregnant there would be hard choices and I agree. Anyone bringing a new life into the world has hard choices to make. “What must I do to support this life?” “Do I have the support of my family as I raise this child?” “How is my life going to change with this new responsibility?” I think these are the “choices” he is talking about. Not the choice terminate a life. He probably should have used another word in that context but I think that is what he means with the statement above.

  • Dan Phillips

    Robert, I’m not from Texas and I find Cain very likable. I was pre-disposed to favor Cain. I wanted to want him to by “my” candidate.

    But do you want to look me in the virtual eye and tell me he hasn’t repeatedly and badly bobbled a critical issue (A) which he should have expected and (B) on which he should have been loaded for bear?

    There’s no excuse for an adult pro-lifer running for President not to be fully prepared to speak clearly and forcefully on that issue. It speaks volumes for his approach to the very concept of leadership, and what it says is not good.

    This should have been a slam-dunk, he should have aced it, and it was a disaster.


  • Robert I Masters


    First consider the source……The Des Moines Register will never give any Republican candidate a positive voice.

    I do not understand what you find faulty with Mr Cains actual words.

    • Jason

      “choice”. Please explain how this can be taken as being open to abortion on demand. What is there, exactly, to make a “choice” about?

  • Robert I Masters

    I also find it interesting that you put such a un complimentary picture of Herman Cain when there 1000 of him smiling.

  • Robert I Masters


    Read the whole whole transcript from the interview with Piers Morgan. The topic being discussed at the time the word “choice” was used was not abortion.

    video edit anyone?

    • Jason

      OK, I read it. Now, please explain to me the “choice” in the Morgan interview. What EXACTLY is the subject other than abortion after rape?

        • Jason

          That doesn’t make any sense. The wasn’t anywhere in the questioning. Now the interpretation is driven by subtext instead of context?

          Look, he most likely is pro-life but doesn’t understand, or is choosing to ignore, how weasel-ly words are in this matter for purposes of politicking. The argument can be made utterly convincingly, and he knows that it is going to come up again and again. It would be better to be ready with these arguments and to eliminate “choice” from his vocabulary altogether.

          What bugs me most is that he isn’t exhibiting his knowledge of this. Romney, to say nothing of our President, will shred him on this sort of inexactitude.

  • Stan McCullars

    If you honestly cannot see how some people, myself included, are troubled by Herman Cain’s statements your critical thinking skills may not be sufficient to engage others in a rational manner.

    • Derek

      Stan, did you vote for or support George W. Bush? Secondly, are you more concerned about Cain’s comments than you are Romney’s record (to echo Nick’s point below)?

    • Robert I Masters

      The only people who are troubled are those who look at one interview and are surprised that the MSM plays gotcha journalism.

      I know Herman Cain…….He has ALWAYS been 100 percent Pro-Life.
      Anything else is simply a lie.

      I do not intend to vote for Romney…even if that means giving the election to Obama.
      I will just sit out the election.

      • Stan McCullars

        I am troubled and am not one of the people you describe.

        Until the first of the interviews I was planning on contributing to his campaign. I have seen, or read, three or four different interviews and he seems to equivocate when it comes to the hypothetical situation of a young family member who is pregnant. I know he says he’s 100% pro-life. He said that several times in the most recent interview I saw yet still was not clear regarding the family exception.

        • Robert I Masters

          Can you give you me those three or four different interviews.
          I ask because it seems to me that most are just interviewers trying to rehash the Piers data.
          This interview here certainly used that as its base.

          Honestly, I have not seen four original interviews that asked that question …but I am willing to be corrected.

          I found this explanation to be satisfactory


        • Robert I Masters

          I just watched that interview with Sean Hannity online
          2 things
          1. It was not original..he asked and even played the cnn clip from the Piers interview
          2. although he mis pronounced two words he never equivocate.

          Maybe I should you how you think He equivocated there.

          • Stan McCullars

            When asked about his previous gaffe, Cain simply stated he was 100% pro-life. He didn’t correct his previous statement. He didn’t say he was wrong in what he portrayed. He just glossed over it with “I’m 100% pro-life.”

  • Nick

    While I too have been troubled by some of Herman Cain’s recent *remarks* about abortion, I am infinitely more troubled by Mitt Romney’s *public record* on abortion.

  • Darius

    If you want someone who can be the standard-bearer for the pro-life movement, then you should vote for Ron Paul. But if that’s not actually the primary issue for you, then vote for whomever you wish.

    • Denny Burk

      Yes, Ron Paul has a pretty consistent pro-life voting record, but there are other reasons why Ron Paul is flawed on this issue. Ron Paul does not support the human life amendment. He also denies that the 14th amendment should provide any protection for the unborn. His commitment to states rights trumps all else.

      A single issue can disqualify a candidate from my vote, but no single issue can qualify a candidate for my vote. Even if he were perfect on the abortion issue, his national security and foreign policy views are completely unrealistic. If all he wanted to do was end the wars, that would be one thing. But he wants to do much more than that. He wants the U.S. not to have any foreign bases anywhere in the world. He wants to shrink the military with draconian cuts that I think will result in hastening America’s decline and standing in the world. Ron Paul is one of the last candidates I would consider voting for in the current field.

  • Christiane

    Perry will likely come up in the polls now that he is not going to debate anymore.
    He’s the most complete candidate for the Christian conservative movement, according to all of these blogs I’m reading . . .

    those debates really hurt him badly and I think he was counting on renewing the ‘birther’ thing to pick up lagging support among his base

    I wonder, if Perry were to ‘make it’ to being the Republican candidate, as some think he will eventually do, would he refuse to debate Obama?

    • Robert I Masters


      The two most negative things about Perry

      His in-state tuition for illegals

      His statement that Mormons were Christians and were not cultist.
      This is orthodox theology 101.
      Perry threw Jeffress under the bus when he could have tactfully avoided the issue like the the other candidate. In doing that he lost a huge cadre of evangelicals.

      • Christiane


        I was making an observation about Perry. I cannot support him because he seems to be having difficulty expressing his thoughts clearly when speaking publicly.
        It’s not his fault, no, but it eliminates him in my eyes in that I cannot picture him being able to hold the demanding office of President of the United States, especially being the Commander-in-Chief. I wonder if Perry has had some health issues that have hurt his ability to express himself clearly.

        I am also troubled by his former behavior in Texas with the ‘secessionist’ comment.
        And I am shocked by his advocacy of women who are eight to 10 weeks pregnant and seeking an abortion needing a sonogram. At that early stage of pregnancy, they would be required to have a transvaginal sonogram done.

        For me, that is going ‘too far’ into government violation of the privacy of any American citizen. Perhaps he meant well . . . but he over-reached on that particular issue in my opinion.

        I cannot support him.

  • Darius

    “Ron Paul does not support the human life amendment.”

    Denny, that’s deceptive. Ron Paul SPONSORED the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which would have done what the human life amendment would have done, only without undermining the Constitution. It seems too many on the pro-life side are just as willing to do violence to the Constitution as those on the pro-abortion side.

  • Caroline

    Denny, have you read the original Piers Morgan’s interview? My mom went to H’ville to hear him speak this past weekend. He said he has a bullseye on him and is constantly being taken out of context. When mentioning the “choice” he was referring to the choice whether to keep the child or give it up for adoption. I would be interested to read the original interview…to keep it in context.

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