It's been a rocky few days for GOP front-runner Herman Cain. After vaulting to the top of the polls, an interview on CNN let some of the air out of his campaign's tires. During a conversation with Piers Morgan on Wednesday, Herman made some jaws drop across the pro-life community when he seemed to support an individual's "choice" in the cases of rape or incest. His response surprised a lot of people in the conservative movement, including myself, who've known Herman for years and watched him advance a culture of life in the African American community. Before commenting publicly, I wanted to talk to Herman personally. We finally connected on Saturday, and he reassured me that he is 100% pro-life and that in future interviews his pro-life position would be clear. We also discussed his recent comments on a marriage amendment. As I explained, there's a clear and present danger to marriage as a result of the legal challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and ultimately, the only remedy is an amendment to the Constitution. As a successful businessman, it's understandable that Herman's primary focus has been the economy. Running for President has forced him to articulate a more comprehensive position on social issues--something he attempted to do this weekend, when he talked with CBN News's David Brody. After his tweets failed to tamp down criticism, he tried to clarify what a Cain presidency would mean for abortion policy in this interview.
BRODY: Are you for some sort of pro-life amendment to the Constitution that in essence would trump Roe v. Wade?
CAIN: Yes. I feel that strongly about it. If we can get the necessary support and it comes to my desk, I'll sign it.
BRODY: You mentioned marriage as well, so you're also--just so I understand--you're for a constitutional marriage amendment as well?
CAIN: I think marriage should be protected at the federal level also. I used to believe that it could be just handled by the states, but there's a movement going on to basically take the teeth out of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and that could cause an unraveling, so we do need some protection at the federal level because of that--and so, yes, I would support legislation that would say it's between a man and a woman.
If anything, this controversy speaks to the importance of social issues down the stretch. Let's hope that Herman, along with the rest of the GOP field, recognizes what a liability it is to shy away from those values, even for one moment.