When Herman Cain meets with Maricopa Country Sheriff Joe Arpaio Monday, it will make him the fourth Republican presidential candidate to personally seek the endorsement of “America’s toughest sheriff.”
“I’ll meet with Mr. Cain,” Arpaio told CNN’s Christine Roman’s Monday. “I’ll see how he stands on the illegal immigration problem.”
Over the weekend, Cain claimed that his call to electrify the border fence had just been a joke.
“That’s a joke,” the candidate told NBC’s David Gregory Sunday. “I’ve also said America needs to get a sense of humor. That was a joke, OK.”
But for Arpaio, that joke was a good sign.
“Oh, I’m sure he was joking, but it probably means that he’s taking it serious to do something at the border and stop the illegal immigrations,” the Maricopa Country sheriff declared.
“I’m not against the fence, but if you buy a ladder and hop over it — I would like to see people go to jail, not give them a free ride back to Mexico. So, if you want to put a fence and they go over it, make them pay.”
Arpaio is facing investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and FBI over civil rights violations and abuse of power, but that hasn’t decreased his popularity among GOP candidates. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) have all sought his approval.
“They probably understand this is all garbage — going after me for the past three years,” Arpaio said. “I’m doing my job. I’ll continue to do it and serve the people of Maricopa County.”
Watch this video from CNN’s American Morning, broadcast Oct. 17, 2011.