Barbara Walters scoop: Herman Cain wants to be SecDef!

Herman Cain could see himself as Defense secretary, the ex-GOP presidential candidate told Barbara Walters during an interview for her program, '10 Most Fascinating People of 2011.' He's been reading up.

David McDaniel/The Oklahoman/AP
Former Republican presidential candidate, Herman Cain speaks at a state GOP fundraiser at the Oklahoma City Marriott, Dec. 5. Cain was one of Barbara Walters,' “The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2011,” which aired Wednesday night.

Barbara Walters' show, “The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2011,” aired Wednesday night, if you haven’t heard. One of her picks was Herman Cain, the ex-Godfather’s Pizza chief who flamed out of the GOP presidential race amid continued allegations of sexual misconduct.

Though it started off slow, Ms. Walter’s interview produced something of a scoop: Asked which Cabinet post he’d like, Mr. Cain said he could see himself being secretary of Defense.

“If I could influence the rebuilding of our military in the way it should be, that would be a task I would consider,” said Cain.

Walters reacted with disbelief. This is the same Herman Cain, after all, who previously did not appear to know that China already possesses nuclear weapons. Then there was that time his tongue tied itself in knots when he was asked whether he approved of President Obama’s Libya policy.

Walters resurrected the Libya snafu, then pointed out that a SecDef is expected to know the names of the other countries in the world.

“Yes, but I have been doing my homework ever since that difficulty,” said a smiling Cain.

Doing his homework? What, he’s reading the atlas at night before he goes to bed? Doing those interactive tests on the Web where you get a blank map of Europe and then click on a list of names to fill it in? The response begged a follow-up, but there wasn’t time – Walters quickly segued into her request that Cain sing a gospel tune to wrap up the chinwag. Which he did. (It was “Amazing Grace.”)

Though that SecDef thing was kind of a scoop, we have to say that Walters went easy on Cain. She looked as if she just did not feel like grilling him, actually. She made a pass at getting some answers on the allegations of sexual misconduct (“Are they all false?”) but, again, did not follow up much on Cain’s denials. Perhaps more seriously, she left unchallenged Cain’s assertion that race played a part in the events that pushed him out of the presidential contest.

“Did this have anything to do with the fact that you are black?” asked Walters at the interview’s beginning.

Cain answered this way: “Yes. Because I believe that the Democrats do not want an accomplished, articulate, optimistic black man to face President Obama. I can’t prove that Barbara. But I do believe that.”

Again, Walters let that slide. (If only she had been as tough on Cain as she was on the Kardashians in another segment of the show. She basically pointed out that they can’t act, sing, or do anything remotely entertaining. They appeared unfazed.)

Oh, who was Walters’ pick as the most entertaining person of the year? Steve Jobs. R.I.P.

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