Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain insisted Sunday that allowing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to profile airline passengers was different than “driving while black.”
During a CNN debate earlier this month, Cain proposed a policy which he called “targeted identification” to find terrorists at airports, something most people call racial profiling.
“If you take a look at the people who have tried to kill us, it would be easier to figure out exactly what that identification profile looked like,” the candidate told CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer, who he referred to simply as “Blitz.”
In an interview Sunday, CNN’s Candy Crowley pressed Cain on what he meant by “targeted identification.”
“I don’t see it as another word for profiling,” Cain explained. “Targeted identification is a deliberate approach to figure out patterns associated with people who have tried to kill us.”
“But this sounds a little bit like ‘flying while Middle Eastern,’ not unlike ‘driving while black,'” Crowley noted, referring to the fact that African Americans are often stopped by law enforcement more often than whites.
“Candy, you are trying to pull me into the rhetoric that gets people in trouble, and what I’m trying to do is not be drawn into that,” Cain objected. “No. I am not trying to identify a particular religion, a particular color, a particular ethnicity. I’m simply saying, we should not be afraid to identify those characteristics that basically have been consistent in people who have tried to hurt this country. That’s all I’m saying.”
Watch this video from CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast Nov. 27, 2011.