AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Herman Cain speaks with the media after a interview on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011.

Herman Cain joke? Electrified fence on the US-Mexico border

Herman Cain's comments about an electrified barbed-wire fence (and alligators, too) on the US-Mexico border are not new. But they're getting fresh attention.

On NBC’s Meet The Press Sunday, Herman Cain said he had been joking when he called for a fence along the Mexican border with “electrified barbed wire” that could kill people trying to enter the country illegally. He added: “America needs to get a sense of humor.”

But The New York Times, which reported on Cain making those comments during campaign stops over the weekend in Tennessee, didn’t see Cain’s comments in the same light at all, writing that they had not been presented as a joke, but as “serious commentary” that drew “cheers,” rather than laughter, from the audience.

Cain has in fact been making this “joke” - whether you see it that way or not - on the stump for some time. This video below was taken last May, in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Watch it for yourself. Here’s the text of Cain’s remarks:

“We’ve got to secure the border. Truly secure it. I had a caller one night call in: ‘Mr. Cain, you conservatives have got to stop this talk about building a fence.’ I said, Why? ‘You know that is impractical.’ Oh really? I think I had just got back from China, and I went to the Great Wall of China. They built a wall; I think with today’s technology we can build a fence. And if they were to put me in charge of the fence, I know we’d build a fence. Somebody asked me, well, what kind of fence would you build? I tell you, it would be a combination of technology and a real fence. It would be about 20 feet high. It would have electrified barbed wire on the top. And on this side of it, it would have a moat the depth of a football field. And yes, Mr. President, it would have alligators in it.”

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