Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain clarified his comments Monday after calling Texas Gov. Rick Perry "insensitive" on "Fox News Sunday" when asked about a Washington Post report that the Perry family hunting camp once had the word "Niggerhead" painted on a large rock at its entrance.
"All I said was the mere fact that that word was there was ‘insensitive,'" he said to reporters outside the Trump Tower Monday after meeting with Donald Trump according to National Review. "That's not playing the race card. I am not attacking Gov. Perry. Some people in the media want to attack him. I'm done with the issue!"
Cain said Sunday, "There isn't a more vile, negative word than the 'n word,' and for him to leave it there as long as they did is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country." Cain, the only African-American in the Republican presidential primary, has been the only GOP candidate to comment on the rock so far.
His comments angered several in conservative opinion media. Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller called his comments at best "premature" and at worst "highly irresponsible." "It was a cheap shot, and, perhaps is a signal that Cain is willing to play the race card against a fellow Republican when it benefits him," he wrote. Influential conservative blogger Erick Erickson wrote on RedState, "It also seems to be a slander Herman Cain is picking up and running with as a way to get into second place."
The Perry campaign responded to the revelations about the rock by saying that his father painted over the word shortly after leasing the land. "Mr. Cain is wrong about the Perry family’s quick action to eliminate the word on the rock, but is right the word written by others long ago is insensitive and offensive,” Ray Sullivan, communications director for Perry’s campaign, told The Washington Post. "That is why the Perrys took quick action to cover and obscure it."
Cain distanced himself further from his comments on Monday. "I really don't care about that word," he said. "They painted over it. End of story! I accept Gov. Perry's response on that."