During the “Clear the Air” segment at the end of his Tuesday show, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir took aim at former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain for not being more distinct when he was being serious and when he wasn’t, citing various gaffes he said Cain has made along the way.
“As the accusations pile up,” Bashir said, “Mr. Cain seems less funny by the day and more like a dirty old man.”
“Ever since he embarked upon his campaign, it’s been hard to know when Herman Cain is being serious and when he’s not,” Bashir said. “Take, for example, his simplified approach to reorganizing the tax code — his 9-9-9 plan — which has been laughed at by virtually every economist on the planet. Or how about his approach to foreign policy, which includes a naval war with Iran and the somewhat belated understanding that China already has nuclear weapons at her disposal. Again, it’s tough to know whether to laugh or to cry about his poor grasp of economics and global politics.”
Bashir also took a few shots at his chief of staff, Mark Block, which he said was more evidence that his seriousness as a candidate should be called into question.
“He chooses a campaign manager who was found guilty of voter suppression in Wisconsin, fined $15,000, and banned for three years from political campaigning there,” Bashir continued. “The same individual, Mark Block, is then depicted, cigarette in hand, in an advert, commending Herman Cain for president. Again, is he being funny? Should we take him seriously? And that’s why we need to be very careful about how we approach the allegations of sexual harassment that are bedeviling Mr. Cain’s campaign because we now know that Mr. Cain likes to respond humorously.”
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Bashir noted Cain’s appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and warned viewers not to be “seduced” by Cain’s abilities.
“The sober facts are not so funny,” Bashir said. “One woman has now come forward — she says without any financial incentive — to describe an appalling incident in a car when Herman Cain allegedly put his hand up her skirt and forced her head towards his groin. Two women have received tens of thousands of dollars, each after complaining about Herman Cain’s sexualized behavior. And each day, it seems, a new allegation arises against him. Because Mr. Cain is such a showman, because he preaches the need for a sense of humor, it’s easy for us to be seduced by his rapid-fire one liners, his singing of ‘imagine there’s no pizza,’ and his smoking chief of staff. It’s all good fun. But while Mr. Cain’s campaign might be a joke, his conduct — his alleged conduct — is not. In fact, as the accusations pile up, Mr. Cain seems less funny by the day and more like a dirty old man.”