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Cain's Abortion Comments Could Prove Damaging in Iowa

By Scott Conroy - October 20, 2011

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The Santorum campaign then piled on by issuing a press release titled “Herman Cain: pro-TARP, pro-tax and now, pro-choice.”

Cain’s surge in the polls has resulted in renewed scrutiny, which the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO has weathered with uneven results. He has sounded unprepared to answer basic questions about foreign policy and has refused to be specific in refuting the charge that his “9-9-9” tax plan would increase the tax burden on poor and working-class Americans.

But while Cain has tripped over a range of issues in debates and interviews over the last couple of weeks, his confounding stumble on the abortion issue could be his most politically damaging misstep to date.

A.J. Spiker, vice chairman of Ron Paul’s Iowa campaign, also seized upon Cain’s comments in a state where Paul has spoken frequently about his own opposition to abortion.

“As a Christian and OB/GYN doctor who has delivered 4,000 babies, the notion that life is not valuable is something that Ron Paul is unwilling to accept,” he said. “Life is precious and we must protect life if we are ever going to protect liberty.”

Meanwhile, The Iowa Republican, a publication in the nation’s first voting state that often serves as a local GOP insider’s guide to the campaign, published an analysis on Thursday morning under the headline, “Do We Really Know Who Herman Cain Is?”

“It seems that Cain is either constantly misunderstanding questions posed to him on what should be easy, fundamental issues, or he admits to having misspoke after it is pointed out that the position he has stated is not that of a conservative,” the Iowa Republican’s Craig Robinson wrote. “Herman Cain has been campaigning for over a year now, and with only about two months until people start voting in caucuses and primaries, I’m more confused about where Herman Cain stands than ever before.” 

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Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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