On Piers Morgan's show last night, Herman Cain seemed to say three, different things on abortion.
1. He sounded pro-life.
CAIN: I believe that life begins at conception. And abortion under no circumstances. And here's why --
MORGAN: No circumstances?
CAIN: No circumstances.
Notice that when Cain cuts him off, he's saying "Abortion, under no circumstances" -- it sounds like he's about to say "under no circumstances should it be legal."
You wouldn't say "abortion under no circumstances", and then go on to claim that it's a personal decision.
But unfortunately, Morgan cuts him off, and we move to Cain's second stage, which sounds like he's fine with a "rape and incest" clause (kind of).
MORGAN: Because many of your fellow candidates -- some of them qualify that.
CAIN: They qualify but --
MORGAN: Rape and incest.
CAIN: Rape and incest.
MORGAN: Are you honestly saying -- again, it's a tricky question, I know.
CAIN: Ask the tricky question.
MORGAN: But you've had children, grandchildren. If one of your female children, grand children was raped, you would honestly want her to bring up that baby as her own?
CAIN: You're mixing two things here, Piers?
CAIN: You're mixing --
MORGAN: That's what it comes down to.
CAIN: No, it comes down to it's not the government's role or anybody else's role to make that decision. Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidents, you're not talking about that big a number. So what I'm saying is it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make.
Not me as president, not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn't have to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue.
Rape and incest exclusions are the context in that bit, so it sounds like Cain is saying that the government shouldn't be involved in abortion decisions involving rape and incest.
But then, he gives a broader philosophical context that makes it sound like he's personally pro-life but thinks the government should get out of the decision.
"I can have an opinion on an issue without it being a directive on the nation. The government shouldn't be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to social decisions that they need to make."
If Cain wants to win Iowa, he's going to have to give a crystal clear explanation on this one.