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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 10/20/2011

Herman Cain on abortion: Pro-choice and pro-life?

Herman Cain might have some more clarifying to do on another serious issue after he gave a muddled answer on the question of abortion.

Appearing on CNN’s Piers Morgan show Wednesday night, Cain said that while he personally believes that life begins at conception, and is against abortion in all circumstances, “it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make,” in cases of rape or incest.

“It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn’t try to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive decision,” Cain said.

Morgan then pressed Cain on the issue, asking if as president, his views would be a “directive.”

“I can have an opinion on an issue without it being a directive on the nation,” he said. “The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to a social decision that they need to make.”

Abortion is a litmus test for social conservatives and much of the field has signed a pledge saying that as president they would appoint anti-abortion judges and push for the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Cain and Mitt Romney are the only two serious contenders who have not signed the pledge. Yet, Romney has said he thinks that the Supreme Court should reverse Roe v. Wade and hand the issue back to the states.

Over the past few days Cain has had to clarify some of his answers on major issues, and to some conservatives his answer on abortion rights might also require further comment.

Cain has faced increased scrutiny over his 9-9-9 plan, his approach to foreign policy and immigration. He has had to concede that his tax plan would be a tax hike for some people, reverse course on a hypothetical swap of Gitmo prisoners for an American soldier, and modify his ideas on securing the border with an electrified fence.

In reviewing the GOP field, Cain said that he has the greatest respect for Newt Gingrich and Romney.

“I have a lot of confidence in the job they would do,” Cain said. ”I don’t believe Representative Ron Paul would be a good president, because most of his ideas and positions are eliminate, end, rather than fix. We need to fix a lot things in this country. I don’t believe in throwing the baby out with the bath water.”
Former CEO of Godfather's Pizza Herman Cain participates in the Republican presidential debate hosted by CNN and the Western Republican Leadership Conference on Tuesday. (JOHN GURZINSKI - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

WHERE TO FIND THE CANDIDATES:

Mitt Romney appears in the Hawkeye state where he will kick off his day with an 8:30 a.m. townhall meeting at Morningside College in Sioux City, hold a roundtable and meet-and-greet later. His appearance comes as he has expanded his Iowa staff and voters have yet to coalesce around an anti-Romney candidate. One on the ground view: “It’s not possible for Romney to do better than the 25 percent he did last time. He doesn’t have the resources and the ground game,” said Steve Deace, who runs the conservative political website of the same name. “He is damaged goods in Iowa. But if no grass-roots champion emerges, he could drop a million and in a fractured field come out second.”

Rick Santorum will be in the Granite State where he plans to officially file his paperwork to be on the state ballot at 1 p.m.

Buddy Roemer also appears in New Hampshire, where he will host a townhall at 4 p.m. and appear at a tea party rally in Nashua at 7 p.m.

Michele Bachmann will be in San Francisco to speak to the Commonwealth Club at 12 noon.

WORTH READING:

Iowa Caucuses still wide-open.

Rick Perry’s Texas Democrat problem

GOP’s stance on immigration and Hispanic voters.

Perry and Paul’s mixed record on energy subsidies.

Marco Rubio’s birther problem.

WORTH WATCHING: Herman Cain on Occupy Wall Street

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 10/20/2011

 
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