Networks Pounce on 'Awkward' Herman Cain Moment, Question His 'Grasp' and 'Readiness'

All three morning shows on Tuesday and the evening newscasts on Monday pounced on an "awkward" Herman Cain interview that questioned the Republican's "readiness to be commander in chief." Combined, the programs offered 11 segments on the subject. The same networks have yet to investigate Barack Obama's arrogant assertion that America has gotten "lazy" in regard to foreign investments.

Good Morning America's John Berman on Tuesday played a clip of Cain struggling to answer a question about Libya and how he would have handled the uprising there. Berman gloated, "You know, just when you thought you've seen the last epic video moment of this campaign. Herman Cain is taking his turn on the highlight or lowlight reels."

Today's Ann Curry fretted,"The awkward moment that has some people wondering if the stress of the campaign has gotten to [Cain]."

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell deemed it a "lapse that raises questions about his readiness to be commander in chief." She also made sure to explain that Cain looked "unsure and uncomfortable."

On CBS's Early Show, Dean Reynolds piled on: "With his polling numbers sinking, the last thing Herman Cain needs is to open a new avenue of questions about him and his grasp of big issues."

In a follow-up segment, Erica Hill expressed concern: "What's really going on here with Herman Cain? Can he recover from this?"

All three evening newscasts offered full reports on the video, which included Cain struggling to explain his position on Libya and exclaiming, "Got all this stuff twirling around in my head."

On Monday's World News, Berman played off a clip of Cain's daughter describing the whole campaign process as "shocking." Berman intoned, "Shocking, like the political odyssey of Herman Cain."

The morning shows on Tuesday did manage to weave in comments from Victor Zuckerman, the former boyfriend of sexual harassment accuser Sharon Bialek. GMA's Berman taunted, "One thing that might be keeping [Cain] awake, a man has now come forward corroborating the claims of one of the women who says she was sexually harassed by Cain."

A transcript of the November 15 GMA segment can be found below:


ROBIN ROBERTS: Now, to politics. Your voice, your vote. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, his boost right now in the polls coming at the expense of Herman Cain who is plunging in the polls. ABC's John Berman has more on another unpredictable turn in the GOP race. John?

JOHN BERMAN: Good morning, Robin. You know, just when you thought you've seen the last epic video moment of this campaign. Herman Cain is taking his turn on the highlight or lowlight reels. And it could not come at a worse time for him, right at what someday be called the dawn of the age of Newt. Herman Cain is known for his way with words.

HERMAN CAIN: Hello. Hello.

BERMAN: But when faced with questions about Libya from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-

CAIN: Okay, Libya.

BERMAN: He seems to have lost his way. Was he tired?

CAIN: Um, no. That's a different one.

BERMAN: Overloaded?

CAIN: Got all this stuff twirling around in my head.

BERMAN: Cain later tried to downplay the Libya word lag.

CAIN: You know, it's really complimentary when people start documenting my pauses.

BERMAN: His campaign says he was going on just four hours' sleep. One thing that might be keeping him awake, a man has now come forward corroborating the claims of one of the women who says she was sexually harassed by Cain.
                   
VICTOR ZUCKERMAN (Fmr. Boyfriend of Cain accuser Sharon Bialek): She said that something had happened and that Mr. Cain had touched her in an inappropriate manner.

BERMAN: In a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, more voters say they believe his accusers than believe Cain, by an 11-point margin. And in a different, new poll, Cain has slipped to third place, behind a surging Newt Gingrich.

NEWT GINGRICH: This is a wild race.

BERMAN: A block Republican voters seem indeed in a something like anyone but Mitt Romney game of speed dating. Bachelor number one, Rick Perry, who topped Romney in the polls in September. Next up, Herman Cain, Mr. October. But now, November could be for Newt.

MATT DOWD: Newt Gingrich, I think, has the capacity to have a staying power unlike the others in this race because of his experience at the national level.

BERMAN: And now, the latest poll out of Iowa basically shows a four-way tie there with Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. So, Robin, maybe this game of speed dating will go on for some time.

ROBERTS: Stay tuned, right, John?

BERMAN: Absolutely.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org