Don’t expect Herman Cain to include a prayer in his keynote speech before the Faith And Family Conference in Washington tonight. After an interview with TPM Saturday, the ascendant Republican presidential candidate said the public prayer Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) included in her speech was “the ultimate pander.”
After our interview, Cain asked me about the other candidate speeches I’ve seen covering FFC this year. There was no indication that Cain had seen them. I mentioned that Bachmann had highlighted her remarks with a prayer — she led the crowd in a long, politically-tinged prayer ending in “Amen” at the end of her remarks Friday.
In a similar vein, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) recited a Bible verse during his speech Friday night, while many in the audience spoke the words from memory along with him.
Cain is no stranger to leading prayers — he’s an associate minister at Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta — and there’s little doubt he will be warmly greeted by the evangelical audience here.
But Cain said that the prayerful moments, which were well-received when Bachmann and Pawlenty delivered them yesterday, smacked of candidates trying a little too hard.
“Well, that sounds like the ultimate pander,” he said, dismissively.
Cain is known for speaking off-the-cuff in public and exactly what he’ll say tonight is not known. He’s got excellent reach with conservatives among both the tea party and evangelical set, and it’s likely his address closing out this weekend’s conference will play to his strengths. But it doesn’t sound like he’ll be including a prayer like his rivals did.