David Freddoso further parses Herman Cain’s abortion answer. He notes that Cain could have been saying the government shouldn’t get involved in a decision on whether the woman in question should raise the child (Freddoso correctly says “there are other options besides ‘raising’ a baby and killing it”) or that he supports a rape exception. The problem for Cain will be if he is taking the Mario Cuomo “personally opposed, but” position, which is another way of reconciling his seemingly contradictory reply.
John McCain got himself into a similar bit of trouble during the 2000 campaign when he seemed to give a pro-choice answer to a question about what he would do if his daughter wanted an abortion. The year before McCain had given interviews suggesting he wasn’t quite ready to overturn Roe v. Wade. McCain ultimately reaffirmed his pro-life, anti-Roe stands and won the Republican nomination on his second try.
Cain seems to be a “big picture” rather than details-oriented thinker and tends to get tripped up when asked to expound on subjects at length. To his benefit, however, many conservatives trust him and seem inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. That will go a long way in determining how damaging this flap is to his candidacy. (If I were Mitt Romney, I wouldn’t welcome a detailed discussion of candidates’ abortion positions.)
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