Cain says he 'would not be comfortable' as Perry running mate

Republican presidential candidate businessman Herman Cain shakes hands with a family during a book signing Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Chris O'Meara

HOUSTON -- Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said Thursday that he would definitely consider an invitation to run as the eventual nominee's vice president, except if the nominee turns out to be Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Cain, who rocketed to the top tier of the GOP field in several recent polls, was asked by reporters on the campaign trail for his thoughts on a hypothetical invitation to run as the eventual nominee's No. 2. After offering the obligatory comment that he intends to be the nominee, Cain said, "Quite frankly, based upon Gov. Perry's position on some issues, I would not be comfortable being his vice presidential nominee."

Those issues include Perry's moderate stances on immigration. As governor, Perry supported legislation offering in-state college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants, which has become a flash point in his campaign. Cain said, "Issues relative to being soft on the border, issues relative to the whole, you know, tuition for children of illegal aliens. And I haven't totally gone through all of his positions, but a lot of positions I have questions with."

Cain, who is black, was critical of Perry after the Washington Post reported Sunday that his family owned a Texas hunting camp once known as "Niggerhead," a word that was also painted on a rock near the camp's entrance. Perry has maintained that his father painted over the word as soon as he bought the property in the 1980s. And Cain subsequently said he believed Perry's explanation.

Of a vice presidential slot in general, Cain said, "I would not say no to being vice president of the United States. But it would depend upon who got the nomination. I will support who gets the nomination. I know I have said that there are some people right now who I cannot support, but I wouldn't say no to it. I could say yes. But it has to be someone who I believe I can complement them in their job by being able to bring my skills to the table."

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