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Cornell Belcher: Cain's "Brainwashed" Remark Was "Racist, Bigoted"

Democratic strategist Cornell Belcher says there is a media "double-standard" over Herman Cain saying blacks have been "brainwashed." Belcher calls Mr. Cain a bigot and a racist and says this incident is a "teachable moment." (h/t TRS)

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: First of all, do you think you're going to invite me on the show and then I'm not going to talk about the ridiculousness of that statement? Two things. One is a great way to sort of get people on your side and win voters is to attack their intelligence.

So great job there. Really sensible, Herman Cain.

The second part here is, it's really a teachable moment. You know, if I came on your show, Anderson, and I said, all Jewish people are brainwashed, I probably wouldn't be invited back to CNN and I assure you the condemnation would be swift and it'd be powerful and be strong.

What Herman Cain said was a racist, bigoted statement and it should treated like a racist and bigoted person who makes those racist and bigoted statements.

COOPER: Ari, what about that? I mean saying black voters have been brainwashed, how does that language play outside his supporters?

FLEISCHER: Anderson, I'm not -- I'm not even going there. I'm not even -- Anderson, I'm not even going, I will leave that alone. I think the downside to the Herman Cain candidacy are probably twofold. One, it's a Catch-22 for him. That's catch-23 can address.

He can't win because people think he can't win. If he continues and is just persistent and keeps working in the way he's working, and just as able to break through, he'll get through the highest barrier or the hardest barrier, which is credibility because people don't think he can do it. So that just comes from plugging ahead. The other is something I'm a little more focused on and that's he's never been in government before. While it's attractive on the one hand, having worked in the White House, you really need to have somebody who knows how to do things with Congress, lead Congress, get Congress where you want them to go.

I wish he had been a successful governor, I wish he was a one- term governor, or two-term governor. If he was, Anderson, I'd predict to you he would very be the frontrunner or almost the frontrunner in the Republican race right now.

BELCHER: You know, I -- no, I'm all in on this one. So, Ari, if he had said -- came on a statement on and said that all Jewish people are brainwashed, you would just leave that alone? You wouldn't touch that at all? But it's different if he says that about African- Americans? Why aren't you touching this?

FLEISCHER: Because I'm not going to get into racial politics. I think nobody wins when people --

BELCHER: And he didn't get into racial politics when he said all black people were brainwashed?


COOPER: Cornell, let me ask you --

BELCHER: He's number three right now in the polls and he's getting into racial politics saying that all black people were brainwashed?

FLEISCHER: Cornell? Cornell? Pick your fight with Herman Cain. Don't pick your fight --

COOPER: Cornell --

BELCHER: The fight is not with me. I actually consider you a friend. I'm --

FLEISCHER: Cornell, pick your fight with Herman Cain. Don't pick your fight with me.

BELCHER: I actually consider you a friend. I'm not fighting you. I'm just asking a question because I can't believe that there's no condemnation about such a bigoted statement.

COOPER: Cornell, let me just ask you. I mean -- are you sure it's racist? I mean, don't plenty of people make the statement that well, this group is brainwashed --

BELCHER: What is the definition of "racism" or "bigotry"? It is in fact putting a blank statement on a whole group of people. And again, Anderson, I guarantee you, if I came on your program and said that all Jewish people were brainwashed, you wouldn't invite me back on this -- on CNN. I would not be back on CNN. I'm sure of that. There's a double standard here. I think this is a teachable moment. COOPER: Don't people often say, though, well, liberals think this, or -- I mean people make vast statements about groups all the time.

BELCHER: Well -- well --

COOPER: I mean independent voters think this or --

BELCHER: Well -- well, liberals didn't have a history of Jim Crowe or slavery so it's different.

COOPER: I'm not arguing with you. I'm interested in your perspective. So that's why I'm just kind of probing around the edges.

BELCHER: And it's not an argument.

COOPER: Right.

BELCHER: Again, I'm trying to look at this as a teachable moment because clearly to me there's a double standard going on here and it's outrageous.

COOPER: Do you think -- how do you think his statement, Herman Cain's statement, are you surprised that it hasn't gotten the reaction that you've had?


COOPER: I mean certainly it's raised a lot of eyebrows.

BELCHER: Well, that's my point

COOPER: A lot of people are talking about it.

BELCHER: Well, that's my point. In all due respect, if he had came on this -- the network and said that all Jewish people were brainwashed it would have been -- it's top of the news and the condemnation would have come from all sides, including my friend Ari Fleisher. So my only point about this is --

FLEISCHER: You know, Anderson --

BELCHER: -- you can't play the double standard politics.

FLEISCHER: Anderson, let me jump in.


FLEISCHER: Let me jump in. I'm not -- I'm not going to dwell on this topic, but remember the question was about people being poisoned about a party. So there's a presumption in the question also that just flows from the fact that 90 to 95 percent of African-Americans vote a certain way.

But when people start throwing the word "racism" around that's when I end the conversation because you cannot have an intelligent conversation when people are accusing people in the public square of that. So I'm not even want to get into that topic.

COOPER: Cornell --

FLEISCHER: What you have is this fascinating dynamic --


FLEISCHER: Cornell, don't interrupt.

BELCHER: When someone makes a bigoted or a racist --


BELCHER: Ari, I think I'm not going to be bashful about calling them a racist or a bigot. And it's a bigoted statement, when you're calling all black people brainwashed --

FLEISCHER: Are you done, Cornell?

BELCHER: -- that's a bigoted statement. That's a bigoted statement, Ari.

FLEISCHER: Cornell --


BELCHER: Yes, I'm done.

FLEISCHER: Cornell, 'Crossfire' got canceled for a reason. Let me finish. What's happening in the Republican primary right now is this fascinating dynamic where there still is a search under way for who will be the leader of the Republican Party.

And Republicans are thirsty for somebody who was really going to change Washington. And that's what my point was before about why I think Republicans are responding so well to Herman Cain's rhetoric.

Washington needs to have fundamental substantive changes in the taxes and the spending. And when you have career politicians going and saying, I'm going to do a little less of what was done before, it doesn't really resonate.

Herman Cain is resonating because he's got that outsider perspective. He's got those two downsides like I said, but I think he's somebody who has a good chance to end up in that third slot and nobody knows what can happen from there.

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