Herman Cain asked Henry Kissinger to be his secretary of State, a post that the 88-year-old last held nearly 35 years ago, the presidential candidate revealed.
But Kissinger, who would be four months shy of his 90th birthday by the time Cain took the oath of office if he were elected, turned the offer down, Cain said during an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s editorial board.
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Cain made the startling revelation in the same interview in which he stumbled badly when asked questions about President Barack Obama’s policy in Libya and in which he expressed support for public workers’ right to collective bargaining.
Journal Sentinel editor Marty Kaiser told CNN that some of Cain’s answers had shocked his reporters. “Quite a few of us have been in the business a long time, been through a number of these kinds of interviews, and afterwards we were really sort of stunned," he said.
The paper released the Kissinger section of the interview today, 24 hours after Cain’s previous blunders had hit the Web.
In the new section, representatives of the Journal Sentinel asked Cain what type of people he would have in his administration.
“Dr. Kissinger turned my offer down to be Secretary of State,” Cain said. “He said he’s perfectly happy doing what he’s doing.”
Kissinger was secretary of State under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
Cain then said he had had conversations with former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, former Defense Department spokeswoman K.T. McFarland, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, former Air Force Gen. Jack Chain, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan about being in his Cabinet.
“My administration will have a majority of businesspeople as well as some seasoned officeholders who are not afraid to challenge the status quo,” the former head of Godfathers Pizza said. “That’s the main part that I’m looking for.”
When asked which post he would give Ryan, Cain would not be specific. “We have a whole lot of them, you know. I don’t want to pin it down at this point. I don’t want to get pigeonholed.”
He said he had “so much respect” for Ryan and supported his Medicare restructuring plan “wholeheartedly.”
“He put something on the table to solve the problem, knowing that it’s going to be controversial. That’s what I like. That’s what I do. I put solutions that will solve the problem, not just something that you think you can get passed.
“He knew that it was going to get attacked and criticized and it has been but it goes toward solving the problem. In order to solve our long-term spending problem, we must restructure these programs and that’s what [Ryan] does with Medicare.
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