Oh, brother: Perry to Cain
October 19th, 2011
01:30 PM ET
9 years ago

Oh, brother: Perry to Cain

(CNN) - A spokesman for Rick Perry said the Texas governor was simply being friendly when he twice referred to Herman Cain as "brother" at the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate on Tuesday.

"He is a friendly fellow. He uses that kind of language. And he views all those folks on stage as colleagues, as fellow Republicans, and he speaks accordingly," said communications director Ray Sullivan on CNN's "American Morning."


Sullivan added that Perry called Romney the same term. When former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and Romney were arguing over health care at one point, Perry could be heard in the background using the word "brother" while trying to jump in on the discussion.

And then can you add the word "But" to transition to the next sentence (and put in SOME before eyebrow), as in:

But Perry raised some eyebrows when he made the reference, saying: "Herman, I love you, brother, but let me tell you something..." and "I'll bump plans with you, brother, and we'll see who has the best idea."

The Twitter universe especially lit up, with hundreds of people expressing surprise over Perry's use of the word.

Some called it painful, cringe-worthy, or flat-out racist.

Others used humor. Hip-hop artist @TalibKweli said: "Did I just see Rick Perry call Herman Cain "brother" twice like some sort of Texan Hulk Hogan?"

Comedian @KathyGriffin also weighed in: "Awkward. I'm waiting 4 Perry 2 say 'jive turkey.'"

But is "brother" a racially-tinged expression or is it, as some have argued, a nod to the two presidential candidates' common Christian faith?

As one Twitter user pointed out, sometimes Christians "great each other with Brother or Sister. Maybe that's the point Perry was making–We're both Christian."

This isn't the first time Perry's campaign has played defense on the issue of racism. Earlier in the month, a Washington Post report said Perry's family leased a hunting ranch that was previously marked by a painted rock with the word "N*****head."

Perry responded saying the story has a number of incorrect claims and that the rock had been painted over many years ago.


Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain • Rick Perry
soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. SA Wallick

    Every last one of them are crooks, as they are all in our government now. How can it get better with one of them.

    October 19, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. clm

    Maybe they are both Free Masons that is a term used by that fraternity as well

    October 19, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. Brother J.

    Perhaps Cain is getting to uppity for his fellow Teapublicans? They want a man or woman of color on stage but not one that leads the pack. Token is OK; competent and leading is a no-no.

    October 19, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. Rev Mkell,

    I don't see anything news worthy here. From the things I've heard about Gov. Perry if he was going to make a racial comment he wouldn't have used the word 'brother'!

    October 19, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. ward

    Christians call each other brother and sister because they are brothers and sisters in Christ.

    October 19, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. NVa Native

    Yea, sure – Parry is just like Trump – he has a great relationship "with the blacks".
    Are you my brother?

    October 19, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. jbreezy

    bro. is common enuff not racist at all is it presidential? .......

    October 19, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  8. Charmaine

    I boy! here we go with another issue about using a word on a wrong way! I heard it and I do not know if Perry was being smart saying brother because black men greet each other like that.Or the thing of being smart and sarcastic thinking saying this he only understands this way of speaking.UGh! Lets not make a big thing out of brother.Brother where are thou? Do not feed into this for Perry and Cain.I am done.

    October 19, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. Me

    I believe Perry meant it in the context of dude-vato-hombre-buddy.

    October 19, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. yinyang

    I never recalled Cain making it a point that he's Christian. I don't know what denomination he is. He's a businessman, CEO. Now if Perry called him Sister that would go down a different trail.

    October 19, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Al-NY,NY

    While I don't think the simpleton from Texas meant it in a derogatory manner, I'm interested in seeing what Herm does with it. Does he play the race card? At least Rick didn't say he was "po"

    October 19, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    So Perry doesn't call the other 'contestants' brother. So he only calls the 'so-called-brother-who- doesn't- really- wanna- be- a- brother' brother. So he took a little friendly liberty with the 'brother' who thinks he really is accepted as a brother by his other brothers onstage.

    So what?
    Perry is a good 'ole Texas boy. He probably thinks he can call us whatever the hell he wants. Heck he named his camp after a 'brother'.!

    Seriously though: this is no big deal, I don't believe Mapface Perry meant anything by it.
    BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME? :)!

    October 19, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. Religious Sects

    The race issue won't burn out until the news media stops lighting that fire. The term "brother" is innocent enough (friend, family, christian, fraternity, etc..), it's in how an individual interprets it that determines who the racist is.

    October 19, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. Byrd

    The republicans hypocrites couldn't get the Son of Cain (That's what McCain means, in case you didn't know) elected the last time, so they're apparently going for Cain himself this time around, but once again, another loser has taken the field.

    Interesting how these so-called Christians seem to flock toward all things Cain, unless he happens to be Africa-American, in which case they're left with nothing but their own hypocrisy to guide them in the polling booths. How sad and pathetic.

    October 19, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. Dave

    I don't think there's anything here. Perry may be dumb as a stump, but I don't think he's a racist...

    October 19, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Gov. Perry wasn't being intentionally disrespectful, condenscending, or willfully negative in an way. I think calling Mr. Cain "brother" was simply short for "brother from another planet." That's all.

    October 19, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. nyc

    At least he didn't call him "Boy"

    October 19, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. N@TuRn3r

    This article is proof that the media will stir up racial tensions, even when there aren't any.

    October 19, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. MTATL67

    I am a brotha and I watched the debate. I am no supporter of either of this two but there was nothing racist about what Perry said. Those be they from the left or the right are saying it was are full of it.

    October 19, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. RINO Bil

    Even George W. Bush could have said it more sincerely than Rick Perry.

    Hey! If Perry really wants to become Cain's BFF, maybe Rick should invite Herm to go shooting at that special West Texas hunting Ranch. Maybe they can even invite Dick Cheney along, just to make Cain feel like he really is one of the boys!

    October 19, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Robert

    Rick Perry Calling Herman Cain 'brother' is like Kayne West hugging George W. Bush – it's just not right..

    October 19, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Diamond

    This is what I find objectionable sometimes about the pagan left.
    I'm black and I know Rick Perry wasn't being racist and I'm not even a fan of his.
    It's a christian thing and people should refrain from criticizing what they do not understand.

    October 19, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. jeff

    All Evangelicals and most Baptists use term brother as we are all brothers in Christ. Unless you just don't read the news both men's faith has been in many of the articles written on them. Herman Cain is an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church in Atlanta. I am for Cain, not Perry but his use of brotheris an endearing Christian term for those who do not know.

    October 19, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. Seam

    People miss the point here. If Perry addressed the other candidates last night as "Brother", then this would be a non issue. He only referred to Cain (a black man) as brother. It's not racist, but very awkward. It's almost like Perry was trying to score cool points with the black voter. He made himself sound silly for reaching so badly. By the way, this had nothing to do with being a Christian, as most are trying to suggest; otherwise, he'd be using the term all the time.

    October 19, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. ricky

    Maybe he is big fan of Hulk Hogan brother

    October 19, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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