The presidential candidate on warrantless wiretaps, executive killings, the war on drugs, military tribunals, airport security, and more
Herman Cain opposes targeting terrorists who are U.S. citizens for assassination. Expressing surprise and disbelief that the Obama administration has such a policy, the presidential candidate told The Atlantic that Americans accused of terrorist activity should be granted due process, unlike foreigners.
"This is the first that I have heard -- you're saying it's okay to take out American citizens if he suspects they are terrorist related. Is that what you said?!" the former Godfather's Pizza CEO said when queried on the topic. "I've got to be honest with you. I have not heard that. I don't believe that the president of the United States should order the assassination of citizens of the United States. That's why we have our court system, and that's why we have our laws." Cain's position put him at odds with the Obama administration policy to target, among others, Anwar al-Awlaki, who in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death has moved up the list as a major target for U.S. anti-terror efforts.
Though he suffers from low name recognition, Cain generates strong enthusiasm among voters who get to know him, and performed well in the first GOP candidates debate. A long shot for the nomination, he is all confidence, having declared last week that when he wins the presidency, "we'll all be able to say, free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, this nation is free at last, again!" In order to test that hypothesis, I probed the candidate's positions on executive power and civil liberties in a 22 minute conversation that covered lots of ground but left no time for followup questions.