Electric fence remark was a joke, Cain says
October 16th, 2011
03:53 PM ET
11 years ago

Electric fence remark was a joke, Cain says

Washington (CNN) - GOP presidential contender Herman Cain walked back comments Sunday that he made a day earlier when he called for a deadly electric fence on the United States-Mexico border.

"That's a joke," Cain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I've also said America needs to get a sense of humor. That was a joke, OK."

Programming note: GOP presidential candidates next face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, October 18, in the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. Submit your questions for the debate here.

Cain made the fence comments Saturday at a Tennessee rally while kicking off his bus tour to promote his "9-9-9" tax plan.

Speaking to the crowd, Cain recalled a conversation he had on his conservative radio talk show with a caller who argued against building a fence to prevent illegal immigration.

But Cain said he fought back, telling the caller:

"When I'm in charge of the fence, we going to have a fence. It's going to be 20 feet high. It's going to have barbed wire on the top. It's going to be electrocuted, electrified," Cain said. "And there's going to be a sign on the other side that says it will kill you."

Cain, who's surged to the top of the Republican presidential field to join fellow front-runner Mitt Romney, said he was only kidding about the remark.

"That's not a serious plan," Cain said Sunday.

Cain's comment Sunday comes one day before he's set to meet with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the high-profile Arizona law enforcement officer known for cracking down on illegal immigration. According to the sheriff's office, Monday will mark the second meeting for Cain and Arpaio in the last three months.

"I’m anxious to hear Herman Cain’s position on a variety of issues, directly from him and not through the prism of media interpretation,” Arpaio said in a statement.

In the interview Sunday, Cain went on to explain his immigration plan, which includes securing the border using a physical fence, new technology and, if needed, troops on the ground. He also argued for stronger enforcement of laws already in place and called for a tighter bureaucracy.

–CNN's Steve Brusk contributed to this report.

Also see:

Axelrod strikes Romney, says Perry could bounce back

Gingrich: Cain has strong shot at nomination

Bachmann raises almost $4 million, but spends nearly $6 million

McCain to Perry: Get some rest

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain • Immigration
soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. Discernment


    (1a.) – First Cain claimed he would never ask an American Muslim to serve in his administration.
    (1b.) – But then he backed off when he realized that was bigotry on his part.

    (2a.) – Cain claimed that if you are unemployed, it is because you are lazy.
    (2b.) – Cain does not understand that the woman with a Masters Degree and making $125,000.00 has just watched her job sent overseas. And she don't want a handout, she needs a job.

    (3a.) – Cain also said Haagen-Dazs Black Walnut was his favorite ice cream.
    (3b.) – But we now learn that Haagen-Dazs stopped making Black Walnut ice cream years ago. Therefore Cain lied.

    (4a.) – Cain said American Blacks were brainwashed because they refuse to support Republicans.
    (4b.) – Apparently, Cain forgot that Blacks voted for Republicans after Lincoln freed the slaves and for the next 65-years; until Herbert Hoover and every Republican since has supported policies that relegate blacks to second-class citizenship.

    October 17, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. Karlie

    Finally a solution to the border problem- on that I would have to give him my vote!!!

    October 17, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. WTF

    Go Herman - no joke - let's do this, and add a whole lot of armed NG troops with live ammo. That's why they are called the National Guard.

    October 17, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. Dave from GA

    Oh... is it like Michele Bachman who made her joke about the victims from the Hurricane Irene weeks ago?

    October 17, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Kissinger

    Nope, it wasn't joking. This was a good ole Cain back walk of comments he did not think about before he opened his mouth.

    October 17, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Big_D

    Of course it is a joke. Big business is why we have an immigration problem and the GOP to begin with.

    October 17, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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