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Jeffrey Goldberg snags an interview with former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and rising GOP presidential contender Herman Cain. It is common to speculate that insecure white conservatives are embracing him in part to defuse anxiety about their own racism, and more consciously, to rebut charges the Tea Party movement is racist. The most interesting nugget in the interview is Mr. Cain’s casual mention of President Obama as having been “raised in Kenya.”

This is certainly not the first time a GOP presidential contender has gone there, but it is the most recent revival of Birtherism and skepticism about Obama’s identity. If conservatives love a black man championing the free market and trashing Obamacare–and Cain’s standing in national polls would suggest they do–they must really get a kick out of one questioning Obama’s upbringing while rejecting the very concept of being an African-American, insisting the only way to properly characterize himself is as “American, black, and conservative.”

 

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