BARTLETT, Tenn. – Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who has been pressed by reporters to name his advisers on economic policy, told an admiring crowd on Friday that he felt no compulsion to do so because it would only leave his aides vulnerable to criticism.
“They’re all going to ask me, 'Well, who are your economic advisers?’ And they hate it when I say, 'I’m not going to tell you … They’re my advisers, they’re not yours,'” Cain told a crowd of several thousand people that gathered in this city near his hometown of Memphis. “They just want to know who my smart people are so they can attack them.”
Cain said he also doesn’t want to name whom he consults on foreign policy. “When I come up with my foreign policy philosophy, they said, 'Well, who are you consulting with on foreign policy?’ I’m not going to tell you. They want to know everything so they can have more ways to try to attack you.”
At Tuesday’s GOP presidential debate, Cain was questioned on who had assisted him in drafting his “9-9-9” economic plan that has helped him rocket to the top of current polls. Cain named one man, Rich Lowrie, who was subsequently identified as a Cleveland financial consultant with an accounting degree who is not an economist. Cain had previously refused a media request to name his strategists.
Cain devoted much of his emphasis at the rally to criticizing President Obama’s approach to foreign policy, which he said is not tough enough. He described his own policy as an extension of former President Reagan’s.
“If you look throughout history, weakness invites attack. And right now this nation is viewed as weak because we have a president that’s viewed as weak because he believes that we can maintain our status in the world by singing 'Kumbaya,’ and 'Kumbaya’ is not a strategy,” Cain said to applause.
The former Godfather’s Pizza executive also noted his unique status as a black Republican who has been embraced by the tea party movement, which has occasionally been accused of racism in its treatment of Obama. He said he’s called a “bad apple” because “I left the liberal plantation.” Cain said that if the tea party is a racist movement, “I see an awful lot of black racists out here today.”
Cain greeted audience members after his remarks before boarding his bus that is touring Tennessee and then attending a private lunch in Memphis.