Businessman and GOP presidential contender Herman Cain said Sunday that his proposal to build an electrified fence on the U.S. border with Mexico was “a joke.”

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Cain raised eyebrows last week when he told audiences at two campaign rallies in Tennessee that he would “secure the border for real” with a fence that could deliver a lethal charge of electricity.

“It’s going to be 20 feet high. It’s going to have barbed wire on the top. It’s going to be electrified. And there’s going to be a sign on the other side saying, ‘It will kill you — Warning.’” At an earlier rally, on the campus of Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tenn., he added that the sign would be written “in English and in Spanish.”

During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cain said “That was a joke ...That was not a serious plan.” He said he would address the problem of illegal immigration with “a combination of a physical fence, technology, and in some terrible areas we might have to put troops there.”

He added that “we must promote the path to citizenship that’s already there” and “enforce the laws that are already there.” Finally, he said he would put forth a “bold idea” to “empower the states to do what the federal government can’t do and won’t do as far as dealing with illegals that are in the United States today.”