Posted at 02:25 PM ET, 10/31/2011

Herman Cain on race: ‘This many white people can’t pretend that they like me’

Herman Cain, speaking today at the National Press Club on the issues of race and racism and his rise to the top of the GOP presidential polls, rejected the idea that part of his appeal to white voters is that he’s black.
Herman Cain addresses the National Press Club. (Via Associated Press)

“Some people have made the assertion that the only reason I’m doing so well is because conservatives are trying to send a message, ‘We’re not racist,’ ” he said. “Come to some of our rallies and you will come to the conclusion that I have come to. . . . This many white people can’t pretend that they like me.”

The lone black Republican in the 2012 presidential race also accused the Obama administration of using race to divide the country.

“This administration is playing the race card, the class warfare card,” he said. “As a result, there is more racial tension than there has been.”

Cain acknowledged the role of racism in the country and said he has been a beneficiary of sweeping civil rights legislation.

“Are there still signs of racism in some of our institutions? Yes, and they will probably always be there,” he said. “We have come a long way, but yes, we also need to do some more work, so we put the word ‘united’ back in the United States of America.”

He ended his news conference with a gospel song that closed with the words, “He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.”

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