Herman Cain: Jon Stewart Doesn't Like Me Because I'm a Black Conservative

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," June 27, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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JUAN WILLIAMS, GUEST HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is gaining traction in some early polls. In fact, according to the Real Clear Politics average of the latest polling, he is right behind Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. And as we mentioned earlier, he came in third in this weekend's big poll out of Iowa. He has also attracted the attention of liberal comedian Jon Stewart.


JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": While Pawlenty attempts to get us to face the problem inside us, candidate Herman Cain offers real solutions to fictional issues.

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Don't try to pass a 2,700-page bill. You and I didn't have time to read it. We are too busy trying to live, send our kids to school. That's why I'm going to only allow small bills, three pages. You will have time to read that one over the dinner table.

STEWART: Bills will be three pages. If I am president, treaties will have to fit on the back of a cereal box. From now on, the State of the Union address will be delivered in the form of a fortune cookie. I am Herman Cain, and I do not like to read.


WILLIAMS: Mr. Cain sees a racial element in Stewart's comments. He joins me now. Herman Cain, thanks for coming in.

CAIN: Hello, Juan.

WILLIAMS: Tell me what's your beef with Jon Stewart.

CAIN: First of all, Jon Stewart is a comedian. I understand that. But when he starts to mock the three-page joke, him being a comedian, he ought to have known that that was a joke. But he took it seriously and then he started to stretch it out with all of the other stuff. Now, when he mocked me in the dialogue of the old "Amos and Andy"…

WILLIAMS: Dialect.

CAIN: Dialect of the old "Amos and Andy." I think that was a bit much. But, you know, he is a comedian. I'm running for office. I'm a problem-solver.

WILLIAMS: You know, one of the things that drives conservatives crazy, Mr. Cain, is when liberals respond to any criticism by playing the race card.

CAIN: Right.

WILLIAMS: Are people going to say, "Hey, Herman Cain is now playing the race card on Jon Stewart"?

CAIN: I'm not playing the race card. Some people in the media are playing the race card. I didn't complain. Look, the list of names that I have been called and the many times that people have tried to pull me into the race card game, I just have refused. I have got a long list of names in my radio studio where every name in the book they have called me. So I really am not overly -- I'm not offended by what he was trying to do. He's a comedian. I'm a problem-solver. So I wasn't -- I'm not the one playing that card. Some other people are playing that card. It's not about color. I keep saying that. It's about content of ideas and it is about character.

WILLIAMS: But, of course, you just said he used that "Amos and Andy" dialect and he is there mocking you. I don't think there is any question about that.

CAIN: Right.

WILLIAMS: And you say he distorted it. But I must tell you, a lot of people in the press reported that as a straight story that you had said that no legislation longer than three pages.

CAIN: I did say that while I was giving a speech up in Iowa. And then I later came back and said, you know, that was to drive home a point that legislation will be short and where the American people can understand it. I clarified that. Now, if you really want to get technical, executive summaries can be three pages.

WILLIAM: That's right.

CAIN: But the thing more so than the whole race issue, which I don't want to get into, Jon Stewart does not like me, in my opinion, because I'm an American black conservative. Because I'm black and conservative, I think he probably has a bigger problem with that than he does the whole race thing.

WILLIAM: Let me tell you something, I think a lot of liberals have trouble with anybody who is black and conservative in America.

CAIN: Yes.

WILLIAM: You don't fit in the box. You are jumping out of the pen. You are not supposed to be there.

CAIN: Exactly.

WILLIAMS: But let me say this to you. When you stop and think about the other side of Jon Stewart, it's the Tea Party. The Tea Party is made up of a lot of older white Americans, right?

CAIN: Yes.

WILLIAMS: And they are giving you tremendous support, Herman Cain.

CAIN: Yes.

WILLIAMS: You are doing so well right now in the polls because the Tea Party people are behind you. Why?

CAIN: The reason is is because No. 1, my message of common sense solutions is resonating. No. 2, my problem-solving background. I've never held public office. Some people want to beat me up about that, but that's OK. But the real people out there, they are saying that's a good thing because look at the people in Washington, D.C., that have held public office and look at the mess that we have, including the impending debt crisis. And then here is the third thing. The fact that I can connect with people, that's upsetting some people. So, see the thing is, the whole race thing is a whole lot less important to me than the fact that I am conservative.

WILLIAMS: But you don't think that they have an interest, the Tea Party, given the claims against them that they have racial issues, you don't think that they'd like to have you as a black man take on a black man in Barack Obama?

CAIN: Absolutely not. Here's why. If you look at my record, this is why I don't get excited about this race thing. I know racism when I see it. They are simply trying to label the Tea Party as a racist thing. Look, I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, before the civil rights movement, during the civil rights movement, after the civil rights movement. I climbed the corporate ladder in corporate America before it was cool to have a black vice president. So…

WILLIAMS: You did good things and you've been a Federal Reserve governor. You're an exemplar, in my mind…

CAIN: Thank you.

WILLIAMS: …for people, black, white, green, Asian, anybody. But I got to ask you this question. Does the Tea Party buy off of Herman Cain now that Michele Bachmann is coming up? Although it's interesting in the average right now it's Romney, Palin, Cain, not Bachmann. But what do you say?

CAIN: I say that that is a good sign for me and my campaign and here's why.

WILLIAMS: Quickly.

CAIN: When they see those numbers they don't talk about name ID. I'm in third place and I have half the name ID that they have. So what I'm saying is…

WILLIAMS: You are a growth market.

CAIN: Thank you. I'm a growth market. OK.

WILLIAMS: Mr. Cain, thanks so much for coming in.

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