UPDATE: Herman Cain has issued a statement, which in the interest of fairness I am going to include here in its entirety. I will leave it to the reader to determine whether the bolded sentence is believable and, if it is believable, what it says about Cain.
“Yesterday in an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, I was asked questions about abortion policy and the role of the President.
I understood the thrust of the question to ask whether that I, as president, would simply “order” people to not seek an abortion.
My answer was focused on the role of the President. The President has no constitutional authority to order any such action by anyone. That was the point I was trying to convey.
As to my political policy view on abortion, I am 100% pro-life. End of story.
I will appoint judges who understand the original intent of the Constitution. Judges who are committed to the rule of law know that the Constitution contains no right to take the life of unborn children.
I will oppose government funding of abortion. I will veto any legislation that contains funds for Planned Parenthood. I will do everything that a President can do, consistent with his constitutional role, to advance the culture of life.”
I had fully expected the Herman Cain campaign to issue some sort of press release walking back or “clarifying” his remarks to Piers Morgan last night that have been raising a furor in conservative circles. Instead, apparently, we get a six word tweet.
I’m 100% pro-life. End of story.
Well, normally such an unequivocal statement from a Republican politician would indeed be the end of the story. However, given the mounting evidence that Herman Cain doesn’t know what “100% pro-life” means, it turns out to not so much be the end of the story, despite Herman Cain’s fervent wish that it be so.
First, Cain’s defenders have argued strenuously that it is clear from the context of the Piers Morgan clip that he was talking only about cases of rape and incest. I submit that it is anything but clear that this is true; however, you can watch the video and determine for yourself. However, if this explanation is the true explanation, it directly contradicts what Herman Cain said four days ago on Meet the Press:
If at this point you are a potential Herman Cain supporter and you are somewhat confused about what his stance is on whether abortion ought to be legal and in what circumstances, you are in good company: Herman Cain himself is also pretty confused.
I am going to reproduce the transcript of this exchange here in all its glory, keeping in mind that a substantial portion of Cain’s appeal is that he is straightforward, plainspoken, and forceful about his beliefs:
Cain: I’m pro-life from conception, yes.
Stossel: Any cases where it should be legal?
Cain: I don’t think government should make that decision.
Stossel: People should be free to abort a baby?
Cain: I support life from conception. No, people shouldn’t just be free to abortbecause if we don’t protect the sanctity of life from conception, we will also start to play God relative to life at the end of life.
Stossel: So I’m confused on what your position is.
Cain: My position is I’m pro-life. Period.
Stossel: If a woman is raped, she should not be allowed to end the pregnancy?
Cain: That’s her choice. That is not government’s choice. I support life from conception.
Stossel: So abortion should be legal?
Cain: No, abortion should not be legal. I believe in the sanctity of life.
Stossel: I’m not getting it. I’m not understanding it. If it’s her choice, that means it’s legal.
Cain: No. I don’t believe a woman should have an abortion. Does that help to clear it up?
Stossel: Even if she is raped?
Cain: Even if she is raped or the victim of incest because there are other options. We must protect the sanctity of life and I have always believed that.
At this point, if you have a clear idea of when and under what circumstances Herman Cain believes abortion should be legal, then you are smarter than both me and Herman Cain.
The only thing certain about Herman Cain’s position is that he personally believes abortion is wrong, and that women should get less abortions. In this, he is joined by noted pro-lifers John Kerry:
And Barack Obama:
Herman Cain needs to understand that literally every politician in America will tell you that, personally, they are 100% pro-life. That doesn’t matter a bit. What matters are your beliefs about whether and in what circumstances abortion should be legal. And this is a question that Herman Cain either cannot answer coherently, or is intentionally dissembling about.
If Cain wants to clarify his position on this, the six-word tweet above will not do the job. He has to demonstrate that he first understands the subject and will face it honestly before he can announce his position on it.
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