Lawrence O'Donnell Calls Out Herman Cain For Claiming He Was Too Young To Participate In Civil Rights Movement


During a very long and very contentious interview with presidential hopeful Herman Cain, who's out trying to sell his new book, and who had some not so kind words for the protesters on Wall Street this week, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell took Cain to task for a portion of that book where he claims that he was too young to have participated in the Civil Rights movement. Cain didn't take too kindly to O'Donnell's next question.

O'DONNELL: Where do you think black people would be sitting on the bus today if Rosa Parks had followed your father's advice?

CAIN: My father was not giving Rosa Parks advice. Here again Lawrence, you are distorting the intent of what I said. I was a high school student. The college students were doing the sit-ins. The college students were doing the Freedom Rides. If I had been a college student, I probably would have been participating. But if you're a high school student in the 10th or 11th grade, you're under eighteen years of age, you didn't need to get arrested and be in the middle of that.

That was the intent of what I said, relative to me not being involved. Now, I was impacted by that on a daily basis, simply because I was living in Atlanta, GA when all of this was going on. It was not prudent... this is what my dad meant... it was not prudent for a high school student to be in the middle of what was going on in terms of those demonstrations. And thanks to Rosa Parks, yes, she struck a chord with a lot of people that helped to lead to the desegregation of the buses, as well as she was a big part of the whole Civil Rights movement. And we are all very grateful to her, for that.

After putting Cain on the defensive when O'Donnell pointed out that he was not in high school that entire time and was in college from 1963 to 1967 at the height the Civil Rights movement, and when some of the most important demonstrations were going on, Cain accused O'Donnell of distorting what he wrote in his book.

CAIN: Lawrence, your attempt to say I sat on the sidelines is an irrelevant comparison that you were trying to deduce from that particular point in time.

O'DONNELL: It's in your book...

CAIN: Now Lawrence, I know what's in my book. Now, let me ask you a question. Did you expect every black student and every black college in America to be out there in the middle of every fight? The answer is no. So for you to say “Why was I sitting on the sidelines?”, I think that is an inaccurate deduction that you are trying to make. You didn't know Lawrence what I was doing with the rest of my life. You didn't know what my family situation may have been.

Maybe, just maybe I had a sick relative, which is why I might not have been sitting in or doing the Freedom Rides. So what I'm saying Lawrence is, with all due respect my friend, your deduction is incorrect and it's not logical. Okay?

Maybe he had a sick relative? Maybe? What, he's not sure? Or maybe... he's just lying through his teeth and the reason he didn't participate in the protests is exactly what he wrote in his book as Lawrence pointed out here and not because he was in high school and not because some imaginary relative he never wrote about before that maybe... got sick.

Cain also decided to double down on his remarks about his belief that being gay is a choice before this portion of the segment ended.

Cain is tied with Mittens as the GOP frontrunner right now. I expect Romney's sending Lawrence O'Donnell some flowers and chocolates after this interview which you can watch all three parts of in their entirety as MSNBC's site here.


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