Herman Cain’s Potentially Crucial “Meet the Press” Interview
Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain can get lots of dough (for making pizza and campaign contributions) and poll numbers (they are increasing seemingly with each poll and he is the GOP front-runner in one) but — to use a now-trite Rodney Dangerfield line — he can’t get no response, from most pundits and even conservative talk show hosts.
To be sure, pundits are impressed with how well he’s doing in the polls and how he’s capturing the hearts and minds of the conservative faithful. In monitoring some conservative talk shows this week, several hosts said how much they love Cain but most went along with the media conventional wisdom that a)he can’t really get the nomination in the end b)he could never be re-elected.
So all (political) eyes will be on NBC’s still compelling “Meet the Press” on Sunday when Cain undergoes the show’s famous political proctological exam.
If Cain wows ‘em, look for his poll numbers to go and for some of the old conventional wisdom about him being more a novelty, flash in the pan, flavor of week, yet one more high polling Tea Party favorite who will deflate as fast as he fizzled. And if he bombs or makes a major gaffe, look for him to be proven to have been a novelty, flash in the pan, flavor of week, yet one more high polling Tea Party favorite who will deflate as fast as he fizzled. The Hill reports:
Herman Cain’s presidential bid faces a big test Sunday as the newly minted front-runner takes center-stage on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The appearance will mark the first time he has appeared on one of the Sunday morning shows since he became a top-tier contender. Cain has not had to answer in-depth questions on some topics since he became the center of attention.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday evening found that 27 percent of voters would pick Cain as their first choice for the Republican presidential nomination followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 23 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 16 percent.
“Meet the Press” Host David Gregory is known as a tough interviewer, and while Cain mostly held his own during last Tuesday’s GOP debate despite increased focus on his “9-9-9” economic platform, he has at times failed to show a depth of knowledge on some issues.
Cain took heat the last time he was on a Sunday show back in May when he showed a lack of knowledge of the details of Israeli-Palestinian tensions. On “Fox News Sunday” Cain stumbled through an answer on the “right of return” for Palestinians displaced from their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that led to the creation of Israel — one of the two key intractable disagreements between the two sides.
“That is something that should be negotiated … That is something that should be negotiated,” Cain responded after a pause.
He also joked last week that he’s not concerned with learning the finer points on some policy issues — like knowing the names of some world leaders.
That kind of joke is called a political “innoculation” where he’s preparing to get a question like that and is ready to say “See? I told you so.”
But Cain can’t win an election being a favorite of Tea Party member and Rush Limbaugh. He’s also going to have to be seen as someone who the GOP establishment thinks they can live with, who has the ability to get some independent voter votes — realizing that a chunk of the independent voters are also former moderate Republicans who feel their party has gone too far to the right and that they’d rather stay home and not vote (likely) or hold their nose and vote for Obama (unlikely since they did that last time and to them the smells was and is worse than they thought).
Can Cain cut it? Stay tuned (to NBC).