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Cain Goes on Media Lockdown

The Cain campaign has been trying to downplay the candidate’s embarrassing Libya gaffe earlier this week, saying it was simply the result of too little sleep. But stories like this don’t instill much confidence in that claim:

Candidate Herman Cain’s decision to skip a scheduled interview at the New Hampshire Union Leader became the buzz of state and national presidential politics Thursday.…

Initially, the Cain campaign agreed to the full hour or more, but then told the newspaper it did not want C-SPAN to tape the interview. …

After confusion arose over whether the entire interview, or just the taping, had been canceled, Cain’s campaign apparently scheduled another event at roughly the same time and said Cain could appear at the newspaper for only 20 minutes.

Union Leader Publisher Joseph McQuaid rejected the suggestion, telling the campaign that if Cain could not appear for the full 60 minutes, then there would be no interview.

Clearly, Cain’s mangled comments on Libya weren’t a one-time thing. He’s made plenty of embarrassing remarks on foreign policy since the beginning of his campaign. But the media lockdown is basically an acknowledgment from his campaign that he’s not ready for prime time – something that’s been obvious to most political watchers for quite awhile.

Standing up the Union Leader isn’t just bad optics, it’s also going to set him back with conservative voters in New Hampshire. But Cain’s decision to request a Secret Service detail – he’s the first GOP presidential candidate to do so this cycle – is even more puzzling:

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain began receiving protection from the U.S. Secret Service Thursday, his campaign said, making the Georgia businessman the first GOP presidential contender to received stepped-up security on the campaign trail.

Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said Thursday night that the campaign asked for the protection after the Washington Post posted an article online that morning detailing a series of physical skirmishes involving journalists at Cain rallies. …

As Ed Morrissey writes, “One would think that the Secret Service would only get involved if a candidate had received threats other than persistent reporters.” Which is why it’s strange that his campaign blamed reporters as the reason for the detail. Whether the Secret Service is there to protect Cain from actual physical threats, or from aggressive journalists, the best response from his campaign would be to say nothing at all. Blaming the media not only makes him seem unprepared for the scrutiny that comes with running for president, it also makes him appear extremely thin-skinned.


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