Herman Cain is showing that he can play hardball.
After demonstrating in many speeches and various debates that he is an eloquent speaker who can make complex issues understandable for everyday people, Cain is now showing a new aggressiveness and willingness to take on his opponents for the Republican presidential nomination.
His latest target is Texas Gov. Rick Perry in response to revelations that Perry's family used a West Texas hunting camp that featured a sign on a large rock describing the property as "Niggerhead." Cain, an African American and the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, told Fox News Sunday that Perry was "very insensitive" for allowing the name to be used, however briefly. Cain said there "isn't a more vile, negative word than the n-word, and for him to leave it there as long as he did before I hear that they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country."
In response to a Washington Post story Sunday describing the sign, Perry said the word on the rock was "an offensive name that has no place in the modern world," but he emphasized that the name, posted at the entrance of the camp, had been painted over in 1983 or 1984. Others interviewed by the Post, however, said they saw the name in the 1990s, and one ranch worker said he believed he saw it as recently as 2008.
Cain's willingness to pounce immediately on the issue shows that he is more aggressive and hard-hitting than many Republicans expected. He has surged into the top tier of GOP candidates, along with Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, partly on the strength of his victory in a Florida straw poll of GOP presidential preference last month that Perry had been expected to win.
Cain is running mainly on his call for tax reform and severe cuts in government spending.