"Herman Cain Defends Manufacturing Campaign T-Shirts In Honduras: ‘I Don’t See A Reason’ To Change"
ThinkProgress filed this report from the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, CO.
During a major policy address in June, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain laid out his three economic guiding principles. Cain’s first tenet: “Production drives the economy.” Yet looking at his campaign merchandise, Cain appears to be more interested in driving the economy of Honduras than the United States.
An ABC investigation found that Cain’s t-shirts, which the campaign sells at $30 apiece, are manufactured in Honduras rather than the United States.
ThinkProgress was in attendance when ABC’s Arlette Saenz confronted the former pizza executive about his campaign’s decision to manufacture t-shirts in Honduras rather than in the United States. Cain downplayed the concern, saying “I don’t have a political statement with respect to that.” When asked if he would consider producing his campaign’s t-shirts in the United States instead, Cain dismissed the idea out of hand, saying there was no “compelling reason” to do so:
SAENZ: This is one of your t-shirts. If you look at the label, it says that it’s made in Honduras. Were you aware that that was going on?
CAIN: No, I wasn’t aware that it was made in Honduras. I just was aware that it was Fruit of the Loom, which is an American company. So where they buy their t-shirts, no, we did not look at that. […] The fact that it was made in Honduras, I don’t have a political statement with respect to that.
SAENZ: Would you consider changing your campaign gear that isn’t made in this country?
CAIN: It depends on the reason why somebody would want me to change it. Changing it because someone says it was made outside the United States alone isn’t a reason. If I had a compelling reason, yes. But if I don’t have a compelling reason, no. You want to know why? We live in a global marketplace, and we’re not going to reignite the growth in this country with any sort of protectionism.
Cain isn’t the only Republican presidential campaign to get caught selling merchandise that wasn’t manufactured in the United States. Last week, Newt Gingrich’s campaign was confronted for selling t-shirts produced in El Salvador. (Gingrich blamed the t-shirt snafu on his campaign’s volunteers.) Cain, on the other hand, was unfazed by his campaign’s decision to boost Honduran production in lieu of American production.
Months ago, Cain chose this as his presidential campaign slogan: “Is America Ready?” When it comes to producing t-shirts, Cain’s answer is clear: not yet.