Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says he believes statements he made in Iowa this weekend have reestablished his credibility among conservatives on the abortion issue, but the more than 1000 Iowa Republicans who witnessed Cain’s remarks were given a leaflet afterwards with this accusation: “Herman Cain threw the babies under the bus.”
Cain was among six Republican candidates who spoke Saturday at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s fall fundraiser on the state fairgrounds and he made this simple declaration during his 10-minute speech: “From conception, no abortions, no exceptions.”
A host of the event also asked each candidate what they would do, as president, to end “abortion on demand.” Cain gave a 40-second answer on the topic.
“I would not sign any legislation where government funded abortion. I would not sign any legislation that in any way allowed the government to be involved in it,” Cain said. “I would strengthen all of our current laws that prevent abortion. I believe that abortion should be clearly stated and illegal across this country.”
Cain’s answer first drew applause from the crowd when he vowed to forbid any federal tax dollars from going to Planned Parenthood.
“And I will make sure that I appoint judges that will enforce the constitution — no activist judges — and I would also make sure that we didn’t allow any bureaucrats to get in the way in order to protect the life of the unborn,” Cain said, to more applause.
During an appearance on CNN last week, Cain said families should make the ultimate “choice” about some abortions, a remark reprinted on the leaflet placed on every vehicle parked around the hall where Cain spoke. It came from a group called “Iowans for Some Semblance of Christian Decency.” Rival Rick Perry was the only one of the other five candidates to directly challenge Cain on the issue.
“It is a liberal canard to say, ‘I am personally pro-life but government should stay out of that decision.’ If that is your view, you are not pro-life,” Perry said, as the crowd started applauding. “You are pro-having-your-cake-and-eating-it-too. We respect life.”
The Texas governor used more than three minutes in his 10-minute speech to the crowd to talk about what Perry described as his “unwavering stand” on the abortion issue, including his approval of Texas laws which require minors to get parental consent before obtaining an abortion and a law which requires women seeking an abortion to see a sonogram first.
“On this issue you don’t just need to listen to my words,” Perry said. “But you can look at my record.”
Rick Santorum, the final candidate to speak Saturday, indirectly questioned Cain’s sincerity.
“You’ve heard a lot of policy…The choice for you is to whether the folks that are delivering this are authentic,” Santorum said. “Can they be trusted?”
During an interview with Radio Iowa, Ron Paul expressed some compassion for Cain’s predicament, but Paul also summed up the problem Cain now faces.
“Obviously he’s come across as either being inconsistent or very confused on that,” Paul said. “And this is one issue that supporters of the issue — they don’t want confusion.”
In addition to the leaflet distributed Saturday night which attacked Cain, abortion opponents left a postcard-sized picture of a fetus — with the words “I AM A PERSON” — under the windshield wipers of the vehicles Iowa Republican activists drove to the event on the fairgrounds.
Here’s the AUDIO of Henderson’s Radio Iowa report on this story.