Herman Cain in May: Don't Kill Anwar al-Awlaki

Updated Oct. 4, 2011

The killing on Friday of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen described as a powerful al-Qaeda terrorist, has stirred considerable debate about whether it's appropriate for a president to order an American assassinated.

Evidently, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain shares those concerns.

The above video was recorded just after the first nationally televised GOP presidential debate of the 2012 campaign cycle, held in Greenville South Carolina on May 5 of this year. It was originally included in a longer segment by Bob Powell for the website abovetopsecret.com.

"He should be charged. And since he's an American citizen, he should be tried in our courts," Cain said of al-Awlaki. When asked if he considered it legal for President Obama to order al-Awlaki killed, Cain said, "In his case, no, because he's an American citizen."

It has been known since early 2010 that the CIA and the U.S. military's special-operations division maintain kill lists with three to four Americans on them. Al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric, was on the list. He was reportedly killed in Yemen on Friday in a U.S. drone and jet strike. A classified Department of Justice memo authorized the killing, The Washington Post reported.

Two other GOP presidential candidates, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), questioned the killing. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, meanwhile, praised it.

Video credit: YouTube users bxtidre7 and OldCorpBLT13, via Daily Paul

Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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