Herman Cain, surprise front-runner in the race to become the Republican candidate in next year's presidential election, has said he believes the Occupy Wall Street protests were "planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration".
Cain made the comments -- which he admitted he couldn't "back-up" with "facts" -- in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, broadcast yesterday. He went on to say that individuals, rather than Wall Street or the major banks, were to blame for poverty and unemployment in the United States: "if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself."
In response to the interviewer's suggestion that the financial services industry was partly responsible for the 2008 economic crash, Cain said:
But we're not in 2008, we're in 2011. Yes they had a big part to do with it, and obviously you could go back and say 'what did the banks do to do this', but these demonstrations, I honestly don't understand what they are looking for. To me they come across more as anti-capitalism.
This is the latest in a series of gaffes by Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza. In a discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Fox News earlier in the year, he appeared not to understand the issue of the Palestinian right of return -- a crucial sticking point in negotiations between the two sides. He has also said he would not be "comfortable" having a Muslim in his cabinet.