(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain claimed Monday Mitt Romney cannot beat President Obama in the 2012 election.
The former Godfather's Pizza CEO said his prediction is based on "RomneyCare," the health care law Romney signed five years ago while governor of Massachusetts and his failure to explain his Mormon religion when competing in Southern states during his last presidential run.
"When he ran the first time, he did not do a good job of communicating his religion," Cain told the Washington Times editorial board. "Unfortunately, it doesn't bother me, but I do know that it's an issue with a lot of southerners."
Cain, who ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, said Romney will not be "any stronger this time around" in Southern primary states, many of which were captured in 2008 by Sen. John McCain or Arizona and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
"You don't win South Carolina, Florida and Georgia, you can't with the nomination, and then you can't win the presidency," Cain said.
Cain was critical Sunday of Rep. Michele Bachmann, another of his rivals. He said he is more qualified to be president than the Minnesota congresswoman.
"The choice is real simple," Cain said on "Fox News Sunday," when asked why voters should choose him over Bachmann. "My entire career has been problem-solving, not politics."
Bachmann and Romney continue to lead Cain in national and state polls of likely Republican primary and caucus voters.
Team Romney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.