Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday that Herman Cain shouldn't play the race card in responding to the allegations that he sexually harassed two female employees while he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association.
I don't care much for incendiary language, and I actually am someone who doesn't believe in playing the race card on either side, Rice, a Republican who served as national security adviser and secretary of state under President George W. Bush, told CBS interviewer Norah O'Donnell. I've seen it played, by the way, on the other side a lot, too, and it's not good for the country. We ought to be able to look at people and say, all right, maybe this is a disagreement about policy.
Cain: I'm the Victim
Earlier this year, Cain predicted that he would be the victim of a high-tech lynching by liberals trying to derail his campaign, and now he says the Politico investigation of the 1990s sexual harassment allegations against him and the media response to that story are just such a lynching -- although he admitted that there was no specific evidence for that conclusion.
I believe the answer is yes, but we do not have any evidence to support it, Cain said on Tuesday when Fox News host Charles Krauthammer asked him whether he thought he was being attacked because of his race.
One-time presidential hopeful Donald Trump and conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter were among those who accused the media of going after Cain just because he is black.
Trump zeroed in on a very, very racist rant that Jon Stewart made on The Daily Show on Monday, accusing Stewart of doing a horrible, horrible thing to the African-American community and demanding to know why black leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton had not called the Comedy Channel host out for it.
Stewart did not actually reference race in his segment on Cain. Rather, he mocked Cain for trying to distinguish between his actions at and outside the National Restaurant Association, likening that to someone saying, Have you ever kidnapped a baby? Well, other than the Lindbergh boy, no.
Trump said the racism was not in Stewart's words, but in how he said it -- the tone of voice, the inflection. But as others pointed out, Stewart's tone was the same one he has used to mock many politicians, black and white.
Rush Limbaugh Says Cain Scrutiny Mirrors That of Justice Clarence Thomas
Meanwhile, Limbaugh said the Politico investigation was really about blacks and Hispanics getting too uppity, likening it to the sexual harassment allegations made against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his Senate confirmation process in 1991 -- the argument being that black candidates are only accepted if they are liberal.
All they see is 'conservative black man. Look at how they go after Alan West. Look at how they go after Michael Steele,' Ann Coulter said in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, adding, Our blacks are better than their blacks.
Cain, too, tried to argue that liberals are more racist than conservatives.
Relative to the left, I believe race is a bigger driving factor, he said. I don't think it's a driving factor on the right. This is just based upon our speculation.
Rice Sees Errors on Both Major Political Parties
Rice disagreed, saying that both Democrats and Republicans try to bring race in where it doesn't belong.
Indeed, many Republicans -- including Trump, Limbaugh and Coulter -- have been accused of attacking President Barack Obama because of his race, just as Democrats are now being accused of attacking Cain because of his race. Limbaugh, for instance, has called Obama a halfrican American, more African in his roots than he is American and Barack the Magic Negro.
Rice said the reality was that politicians should expect allegations of wrongdoing regardless of their race, especially if they are in a position as prominent as Cain, who is considered a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.
Everybody goes through their time in the barrel, if you will, if you choose to put yourself forward, and so I'm not much for the race card, she said. I don't like the race card when people say that people are criticizing President Obama because he's black -- I don't like that very much, either. He's being criticized because he's president. It just goes with the territory.
Watch the video of Rice's remarks here: