Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain on Sunday accused anti-Wall Street protesters of playing the "victim card" - and suggested that those participating in protests nationwide against corporate greed and a lack of jobs are merely doing so out of "jealousy."
Cain, in an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," argued that the recent protests against the financial sector were "anti-American," and that they were meant to be "a distraction" from the Obama administration's "failed policies."
Cain also posited that the protesters were being "encouraged to get together" by "unions and certain union-related organizations."
"It's coordinated to create a distraction so people won't focus on the failed policies of this administration," he told host Bob Schieffer.
Thousands of Americans have gathered in downtown Manhattan and across the country over the last several weeks to "Occupy Wall Street" in protest of what they see as greed, corruption, and economic inequality in the U.S.
The demonstrations started off as a relatively unheralded effort by a couple hundred mostly young people, but they have recently gained the support of a diverse group of unions - and many see growing support for "OWS" as evidence of its potential as a burgeoning movement.
Unions, however, did not begin to show up in strong numbers to support to the cause until the protests had already been ongoing for more than two weeks.
Cain argued that the protests were "anti-American," claiming that "to protest Wall Street and the bankers is saying that you're anti-capitalism."
"The free market system and capitalism are two of the things that have allowed this nation and this economy to become the biggest in the world," he added. "Even though we have our challenges, I believe that the protests are more anti-capitalism and anti-free market than anything else."
Cain argued it was Mr. Obama's economic policies - rather than corruption on Wall Street - that had led to America's financial woes.
"The bankers and the people on Wall Street didn't write these failed policies of the Obama administration. They didn't spend a trillion dollars that didn't work. The administration and the Democrats spent a trillion dollars. They're now proposing another $450 billion," Cain said. "So it's a distraction. So many people won't focus on the failed policies of this administration."
He contended that those protesting against banks were merely jealous of wealthy Americans, or those with financially lucrative jobs, and lambasted them for playing the "victim card."
"Part of it is jealousy," he said. "I stand by that. And here's why I don't have a lot of patience with that. My parents, they never played the victim card. My parents never said, 'We hope that the rich people lose something so we can get something.' No, my dad's idea was, 'I want to work hard enough so I can buy a Cadillac - not take somebody else's.'
"And this is why I don't have a lot of patience for people who want to protest the success of somebody else."
Fellow GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, also appearing on the "Face the Nation," pointed to the protests as an example of "class warfare" waged by the president against the wealthy.
"The sad thing is, this is a natural product of Obama's class warfare," Gingrich told Schieffer. Invoking former President Ronald Reagan as a comparison point, Gingrich said "the real American tradition" is having the chance to "go out and work hard, the Steve Jobs experience. You can create a better future. You can do something better."
The former House Speaker blamed a recent "hostility to free enterprise" on America's educational system.
"We have had a strain of hostility to free enterprise and frankly, a strain of hostility to classic America starting in our academic institutions and spreading across this country," he said. "And I regard the Wall Street protesters as a natural outcome of a bad education system teaching them really dumb ideas."