‘Targeted identification’ isn’t profiling, Cain says

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Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain said Sunday that “targeted identification” of potential terror suspects is not the same as racial or ethnic profiling.

“I’m not trying to identify a particular religion, a particular color, a particular ethnicity. I’m simply saying we should not be afraid to identify those characteristics that have been consistent in people who have tried to hurt this country,” he told CNN’s Candy Crowley.

“If you take a look at the people who have tried to kill us, it would be easy to figure out exactly what that identification profile looks like.”

At last week’s Republican debate in Washington, the 65-year-old former Godfather’s Pizza CEO suggested that “targeted identification” would improve security on airlines, and on Sunday, he dismissed concerns that such a policy could result in racial or ethnic profiling.

“You are trying to pull me into the rhetoric that gets people in trouble and what I’m trying to do is not be drawn into that,” Mr. Cain said. “I don’t see it as racial profiling. … It’s a deliberate approach to figure out patterns associated with people who have tried to kill us.”

The Georgian, who broke out of the GOP pack briefly last month to join former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney atop the field, blamed his recent slide in the polls on “false” sexual harassment allegations and confusion fueled by the press over his positions on abortion and foreign policy.

“I’ve been real clear” on policy questions, Mr. Cain said. “But a lot of confusion has been thrown my way and that’s … part of politics, as they say.”

“Obviously, false accusations and confusion about some of my positions has contributed to it,” Mr. Cain said. “In terms of the campaign itself, nothing has gone wrong in terms of our strategy of spending time in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.”

He said his comments have been taken out of context.

“Some people are heavily influenced by perception more so than reality,” Mr. Cain said.

In an October interview on CNN, Mr. Cain said the decision to have an abortion, in some cases, “ultimately gets down to a choice that family or that mother has to make” - a comment that pro-life groups and rivals immediately pounced on.

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who is jockeying with Mr. Cain for the backing of social conservatives in Iowa, used video of that interview in a commercial titled “Don’t Settle” released this month, and a key Iowa conservative group, the Family Leader, announced last week it would not endorse Mr. Cain because of concerns about “life, marriage, foreign policy, and presidential readiness.”

Mr. Cain reiterated Sunday that he believes life begins at conception but acknowledged that he could have done a better job explaining his position.

“That whole segment I talked about my position on life from conception, no exceptions,” Mr. Cain said. “They didn’t show that. Then he basically raised a highly hypothetical situation relative to if it were my granddaughter and that’s when they took that part out of context because of a poor choice of words. In retrospect, they later got blown out and it became the story.”

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