"Face the Nation" transcript: October 30, 2011
HERMAN CAIN: I believe that solving the illegal immigration problem means solving four problems. First, secure the border for real that will be part of it secured with a fence, not necessarily electric but a fence. Another part with technology and another part with troops because of some of the areas that are so dangerous. So it will be a combination of the three. And yes, I said that was an over exaggeration. Secondly, we've got to promote the path of citizenship that's already here. We've got to enforce the laws that are already here. And we've got to empower the states to do what the federal government is not doing. I was in Alabama yesterday. They passed some laws and now the Justice Department, the Obama administration is coming down on them just like they came down on Arizona. I don't agree with that. I believe that the actions that Alabama took and that Arizona took to try and defend themselves and to do something about this is the right thing to do.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You also said at one point that you might want to back that fence up with a moat and fill it with alligators. Was that--
HERMAN CAIN (overlapping): That was--
BOB SCHIEFFER: --a joke too?
HERMAN CAIN: That was totally in jest, Bob. Some people are getting used to my sense of humor. And as I get more attention, I will tone down the sense of humor until I become President because America needs to get a sense of humor.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. So-- that would be pretty expensive by the way.
HERMAN CAIN: Right. It probably would.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. You-- you have also said several-- stated several positions on abortion. I want to get this settled for you once and for all.
HERMAN CAIN: Yes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Where do you stand on the issue that is so important to so many Americans? At one point you said you were against abortion, period. But you, at another point said in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at stake, you would leave that to the families to decide. So is that your position? In other words, that you are pro-life with the exception of rape, incest and when the health of the mother is at stake?
HERMAN CAIN: I am pro-life from conception, period. And if people look at many speeches that I have given over the years, that has and will still be my position.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But talk about those exceptions.
HERMAN CAIN: The pro-life from conception, period. I was-- that piece that was pulled out was taken totally out of context when we were talking about--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay, so in other about words you-- you don't-- would not even believe in abortion if rape, incest or the health of the mother was involved.
HERMAN CAIN: Correct. That's my position.
BOB SCHIEFFER: That is now--
HERMAN CAIN: That's my position.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --your position.
HERMAN CAIN: Yes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.
HERMAN CAIN: And thanks for having me to clear that up.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay. I want to ask you, since we're on the subject of abortion, it was at one point back there when the question of Planned Parenthood came up and you said that it was not Planned Parenthood, it was really planned genocide. Because you said Planned Parenthood was trying to put all these centers into the Black communities because they wanted to kill Black babies--
HERMAN CAIN (overlapping): Yes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --before they were born. You still stand by that?
HERMAN CAIN: I still stand by that.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you have any proof that that was the objective of Planned Parenthood?
HERMAN CAIN: If people go back and look at the history and look at Margaret Sanger's own words, that's exactly where that came from. Look-- look up the history. So if you go back and look up the history-- secondly, look at where most of them were built. Seventy-five percent of those facilities were built in the Black community. And Margaret Sanger's own words-- she didn't use the word genocide but she did talk about preventing the-- the increasing number of poor Blacks in this country by preventing Black babies from being born.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So-- so you would not see any advantage to having young mothers get counsel and advice that Planned Parenthood could give them? I mean, with so many Black babies born out of wedlock?
HERMAN CAIN: There are a lot of centers that offer sincere counseling rather than Planned Parenthood claiming to be those centers when in fact they would rather for the young lady to come in and say they want to get an abortion and facilitate that. Plenty of centers out there genuinely do that. What I'm saying is Planned Parenthood isn't sincere about wanting to go try to counsel them not to have abortions.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little bit about foreign policy--
HERMAN CAIN (overlapping): Yes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --that hasn't come up much in the campaign. What do you consider the most the pressing foreign policy problem confronting United States today?
HERMAN CAIN: I think the most pressing foreign policy problem we have is lack of clarity relative to our relationship with other countries around the world. Let's take Afghanistan. Twelve Americans were killed last week. And then just a few days earlier, the President said that if America gets into a fight or some sort of war with Pakistan, that Afghanistan is going to side with Pakistan. That lacks clarity, Bob. And if you take every relationship we have in the world, it lacks clarity. Take Iraq. Similarly. For the President to announce that we are going to draw-- do a drawdown on the troops by a date-certain, that just leaves a power vacuum in Iraq.
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): But--
HERMAN CAIN: --and that's not clear about why we are there and it also leaves it unclear as to how we are going to deal with other nations.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But Mister Cain, it was George Bush who struck the deal that said we'd have the troops out by the end of this year. It was George Bush who struck the deal.
HERMAN CAIN: Well, Bob, that's fine. But a responsible Commander in Chief would go to the commanders on the ground and ask, should we continue with this or should we modify it? So even though-- look, President Obama changed a lot of other things that Bush started so I don't believe that he's doing it because it was the Bush doctrine.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But do you think it was irresponsible of George Bush to-- to set a date-certain as he did?
HERMAN CAIN: It was irresponsible for George Bush to set a date certain, but I believe that the Commander in Chief, if you have a new President, must re-evaluate the situation, and the biggest thing that I would do differently is listen to the commanders on the ground. I'm not convinced that the commanders on the ground agree with that strategy.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Cain, we want to thank you for being here today for ask-- answering the questions that I asked you. So I appreciate it. I hope you'll come back to see us.
HERMAN CAIN (overlapping): It's my pleasure.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We wish you well down the trail.
HERMAN CAIN: Thanks, Bob. Enjoyed it.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And we'll be back in a minute to talk to John Dickerson, our political analyst, about what's going on in Iowa, among other things.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with CBS News political analyst John Dickerson. You are just back from Iowa. So start from the top, John. I mean, what's happening out in Iowa and-- and how about Herman Cain this morning?
JOHN DICKERSON (CBS News Political Analyst): Well, let's talk about Herman Cain. It's gone from a flirtation with Herman Cain to now we're in a steady relationship. And like all good relationships, there's a lot of forgiveness in that early period. He's had these stumbles on abortion that you got him to speak about today. And these other issues but the supporters who like him because he's not a Washington politician, that's the key issue here. They give him a lot of-- of leeway because they say he's not polished. And that's okay. They also like his simplicity. One of his top aides calls it kid-logic which is just the simple commonsense solutions that others may call simplistic. They love it. And also, for that non-Mitt Romney spot, there aren't any-- any alternatives left. He's a winning character. And there's no other candidate out there that those who don't like Mitt Romney can go for.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But let's just talk about his position on abortion, which I have to say is contrary to what he has stated before. He now says he opposes abortion even in the cases of rape, incest and the health of the mother. Am I correct there?
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, that's right. And what he-- where he got himself into trouble is when he was backed into a situation, he was talking about his position, one of his former aides, somebody who used to work for him said if you let him talk long enough he'll talk himself out of his own position. And what happened was asked about a case of rape. He said, well, it's a choice. Now, Rick Santorum came out. He's always quick to jump on the mistakes of others and said that, wait a minute, that's essentially the pro-choice position. And that's where he got into difficulty. You talk to voters though and they say, oh, come on. It was a little slip. We know where he stands and stop bugging him about it.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But that could be very important out in Iowa, could it not? Because here is a state that has a large evangelical Christian population and they are very active in-- in this caucus process.
JOHN DICKERSON: It could be on that specific issue and the larger point that you were saying which is if people are going to think about you as a President, you need to kind of button things up a little bit. And that's the question for Herman Cain and this is what his opponents are hoping is that when people start to look at him and to abuse that dating metaphor, thinking about marrying him, they get a little more serious. And there was a focus group done this week by Peter Hart, the pollster. And he asked people, can you think of him as a President in the Oval Office? Raise your hand. And although all the people in the focus group had loved him and said wonderful things about him, not a single one raised their hand. And that's the hurdle for him. He has to show and get people to think about him as a person who can be in the Oval Office.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So-- so how can that be? He's leading these polls. And yet, a focus group shows that they don't see him as a President. Does that mean that people are just-- they just can't make up their mind about Mitt Romney? Does that mean that maybe somewhere down the line we may see a third party emerge here?
JOHN DICKERSON: Well, I think yes and-- yes and yes. What we have with our poll at-- CBS poll showed this week is that eight in ten Republicans are still shopping. So they're in this mode where they're thinking about candidates. They don't like Mitt Romney. We've seen that. The majority of Republican voters don't like him. They go for other candidates. They're searching around. So they're in the searching mode. What they've found in-- in Herman Cain, they don't like politicians and boy does he speak to that. And they love that. And so the question is how long will they sustain with that? And your question about a third party, in this country people are looking at Washington. You know the polls and what people think about the President and Congress. And they don't like what's going on in Washington and so that could give energy to a third party.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So what do you hear about Rick Perry out there? We have about thirty second.
JOHN DICKERSON: Rick Perry has got-- he's got to do well with those-- those Tea Party voters. In our poll, he went from thirty percent support to seven percent. And the way he's going to do that is by reintroducing himself. He's got ads up on the air in Iowa. But he's got a long hill to climb. Fifth place in that Des Moines register poll. He's going to have to say, hey, I'm a true conservative. That's why you like me. And that means that's-- and that's going to take a lot of work for him.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay. John Dickerson, thanks so much. I'll be back with some final thoughts in just a minute.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Finally today, I love college football especially TCU Football and I like golf. But when people start talking about golf as if it were some religious experience, I say not quite. That's why we have baseball. And the just ended World Series is the latest proof that baseball is the greatest game of all. Boring, too slow for today's fast-moving culture, you must have missed the gut-wrenching experience that kept so many of us up so late this past week.
Baseball's great charm is that the action comes in spurts which leaves plenty of time to spin yarns, look at the girls, and make wise cracks which is why most sports jokes are about baseball. Ever heard a tennis joke? I don't think so. No two baseball games have ever been alike. And this series was no exception. One game was like a picture painted by an old master, all beauty, skill and perfection, the next like an old Abbott and Costello movie, little league errors, the manager calling in one relieved pitcher and another showing up on the mound. Another game featured a hapless third baseman who became a goat when he dropped a pop fly in the third inning and then became a hero when he won the game with a mammoth homerun in the eleventh.
I say all this even though my team the Texas Rangers came within one strike twice of winning the whole thing and then lost. But that's baseball.
Like life, it's not just the winners we celebrate but the losers too. Mighty Casey didn't hit the game-winning home run. He struck out, but we still love him.
Back in a minute.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And that is all the time we had for today. Thank you for watching FACE THE NATION. We enjoy having you. And we'll see you right here next week.
ANNOUNCER: This broadcast was produced by CBS News which is solely responsible for the selection of today's guests and topics. It originated in Washington, DC.
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