Herman Cain Dismisses MSNBC's Fixation on Newt's 'Dog Whistle' Rhetoric: ‘There’s Nothing There’

On Monday’s Now with Alex Wagner, former presidential candidate Herman Cain joined the growing chorus of individuals who are denouncing the vicious attacks against Newt Gingrich. 

Once again, MSNBC host Wagner implied that Gingrich’s recent comments about Obama were racially-charged, but Cain shot down such absurd attacks.  Cain, who has endorsed the former House Speaker, reiterated the obvious: "there is no racial overtone in Gingrich’s statements." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Despite this, Wagner and Wes Moore, an African-American author and commentator, continued the attack on Gingrich and Cain, suggesting that as a fellow African-American, Cain must see the ‘obvious’ racial messages in Gingrich’s language.

Cain denounced such charges and turned the tables on Wagner and Moore by arguing the real offense "is people looking for something that’s not there."  Moore took this line of attack further, questioning Cain’s entire friendship with the former Speaker, by trying to incite anger in Cain against his friend by pushing the lie that Gingrich’s campaign is full of racial overtones and trying to splinter Cain’s relationship with Gingrich.  Outnumbered, Cain stood up to these vicious and despicable attacks on the GOP presidential contender, at least bringing some opposing view on the "dog whistle" nonsense to MSNBC.

Below is the relevant transcript from Monday’s show:


NOW With Alex Wagner
01/31/2012
12:33 pm


Alex Wagner: Let's talk a little more about the Gingrich endorsement and specifically newt Gingrich as a candidate.  And we talked about this I think the first time we spoke via remote.   Newt Gingrich has come under fire from a lot of folks regarding comments he’s made about the minority communities. Whether that’s calling President Obama the food stamp president.  Talking about how minority communities do not understand work ethic.  Getting into a verbal sort of debate with Juan Williams.  Let's play a little bit of sound from Newt Gingrich, speaking about.... Sorry, it’s a full screen and I will read the quote from Newt Gingrich saying, ‘I had a very interesting dialogue Monday night in Myrtle Beach with Juan Williams about the idea of work, which seemed to Juan Williams to be a strange distant concept.’  And again, his comments regarding Spanish, and, and, sort of insinuating that it may be the language of the ghetto.  I ask you, this as a former presidential candidate and also a minority, what do you make of Newt Gingrich’s attitude and his comments regarding minorities in this country?


Herman Cain: Nothing. I have known Newt Gingrich since the early '90s. He appointed me to the Economic Growth and Tax Reform Commission when Jack Kemp was the Chairman. People who are looking for racial over tones in that kind of rhetoric, there's nothing there.

Wagner: So you find none of that divisive?  You find none of it...  

Cain: No I.. It is divisive to the people who are looking for some sort of implied racial statement.   It doesn't exist. I’ve known Newt  for decades. When I first with Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House,  in Washington, D.C., we sat down and had a one on one conversation, we’ve had conversations over the years. While he was in Congress.  When he started his American Solutions.  So, no, I don’t feel as if he has anything in his heart that implies that he’s got something against the different races or any type of racial innuendo.  I think it is just people looking for something that’s not there.              

Wes Moore:  I, I, if I may.  The thing I have to say about that, you know, your personal friendship with Newt Gingrich aside, the comments that he made about this specific issue and not only are they inaccurate, but they are offensive. And they are offensive not just against minority groups but I think all people and all Americans who believe there are a whole lot of people out there, whether it be white, black, a variety of different colors, poor and middle class who are all trying to find, trying find a piece of this larger idea of the American dream and the American pie. And who, when they hear comments like those, the one that Speaker Gingrich put together, they not only see that this is how, somehow this wall is built against them for the chance to succeed, but then also that people who are in positions of power and who have large megaphones, are continuing to pull out this kind of this, this, you know vitriolic and nasty language. So regardless of the friendship, I can't understand how you can hear those comments....

Cain: Put the friendship aside, I take issue with you calling it vitriolic. It is not vitriolic.  If you are looking for that.  If you want to position it as that, you will.  Here’s what I know Newt Gingrich wants to do.  Bring down those walls that you’re talking about.  He wants, he believes in opportunity zones.  He wants to help people to empower themselves.  I know this firsthand not just because of the friendship.  

Moore: But by indicating that a Pulitzer Price winning journalist is somehow lazy, by indicating that people who...

Cain: He didn't say that.

Moore: By indicating, by indicating people, that, that,

Cain: He did not imply that.

Moore:  That are from low income communities...and minorities are somehow, don’t have a high work ethic.
           
Cain: He did not imply that.  I watched the segment like everybody else.  You know to say he was trying to insult Juan Williams, I didn’t take it that way. And a lot of people, a lot of black people didn't take it that way. My point is this and then we can end this subject and move on.  If you are looking for something that you think insinuates a racial overtone, you will find it.  

Wagner: So but, for those people that do feel like it insinuated a racial overtone, you say, you’re wrong.  That, that it’s not there.  

Cain: It’s wrong, and I don't know what to tell them to get over that. I’m just simply saying, If you are looking for that, you will find it some how, some way. I simply reject it because I am interested in bringing people together.           


 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.