When the candidates were invited to ask each other questions in Tuesday night’s debate, most focused their fire on the front-runner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. But Texas Rep. Ron Paul targeted Herman Cain — and caught the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO being disingenous at best.
“Mr. Cain, in the past you have been rather critical of any of us who would want to audit the Fed. You have said ... that we were ignorant and that we didn’t know what we are doing, and ... you’re not going to find out anything, because everybody knows everything about the Fed,” Paul said.
Paul asked whether Cain had changed his mind, now that an audit has taken place.
Cain responded, as he did frequently throughout the debate, by disputing the question. “You have misquoted me,” he said. “I did not call any of your people ignorant. I don't know where that came from,” he said. “You've gotta be careful of the stuff you get off the Internet.”
A former chairman of the board of directors of the Kansas City Federal Reserve, Cain went on to say that he didn’t agree with the recent actions of the Federal Reserve, and that he did not object to an audit — it just wasn’t his “top priority — 9-9-9.”
But if you do exactly what Cain suggests, and search the Internet, Cain has indeed dismissed Federal Reserve audits. Paul supporters, naturally, dug up audio of the candidate arguing on the Neal Boortz radio show in late 2010 that “the Federal Reserve already has so many audits it’s ridiculous.”
“I think a lot of people are calling for this audit of the Federal Reserve because they don't know enough about it,” Cain said at the time. “There's no hidden secrets going on in the Federal Reserve to my knowledge.” He added that “we don’t need to waste money ... with an audit that’s not necessary.”
While he didn’t use the word “ignorant” or specifically reference Paul, Cain pretty clearly did oppose a Fed audit at the time and dismiss those who supported one.
Cain also called Paul a “grumpy old man” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last week.