Cain, in an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” continued to defend the ad, which features his campaign manager Mark Block taking a long drag from a cigarette – and said the ad was meant to be “informative.”
“This wasn’t intended to send any subliminal signal whatsoever,” he told Schieffer.
“It does – it sends a signal that it is cool to smoke,” suggested Schieffer.
“No, it does not,” Cain replied. “Mark Block smokes. That’s all that ad says. We have a lot of people in this country that smoke. But what I respect about Mark as a smoker, who is my chief of staff, he never smokes around me or smokes around anyone else. He goes outside.”
“He smokes on television!” said Schieffer.
“Well, he smokes on television. But that was no other subliminal message,” Cain said.
When asked if he thought the ad was meant to be “funny,” Cain said his campaign “didn’t know whether it would be funny to some people or whether they were going to ignore it or whatever the case may be.”
“It’s not funny to me – I am a cancer survivor, like you,” Schieffer said. “I had cancer that was smoking related. I don’t think it serves the country well – and this is an editorial opinion here – to be showing someone smoking a cigarette. You’re the frontrunner now. It seems to me as frontrunner you would have a responsibility not to take that kind of a tone in this campaign. I would suggest that perhaps as the frontrunner, you’d want to raise the level of the campaign.”
“We will do that, Bob,” Cain responded. “I do respect your objection to the ad. Probably about 30 percent of the feedback was very similar to yours. It was not intended to offend anyone. Being a cancer survivor myself, I am sensitive to that sort of thing.”
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