WASHINGTON — Presidential candidate Herman Cain said Sunday the “Occupy Wall Street” protests may have been coordinated to shift attention from President Barack Obama’s economic policies and that the protesters are jealous of the success of others.
“We know that the unions and certain union-related organizations have been behind these protests that have gone on, on Wall Street and other parts around the country,” Cain said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “It’s coordinated to create a distraction so people won’t focus on the failed policies of this administration.”
GOOD TO KNOW: An instructor demonstrates how to pick the lock on handcuffs using a bobby pin at the Occupy Wall Street occupation in New York.
Cain said the protests are “anti-American” because they are “anti-capitalism and anti-free market.” He also said the demonstrators may be jealous of the success of Wall Street bankers.
“Part of it is jealousy. I stand by that,” Cain said, who said he does not “have a lot of patience for people who want to protest the success of somebody else.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who appeared on the program with Cain, stopped short of agreeing that the demonstrators are jealous, but called the protests “a natural product of Obama’s class warfare” as well as a trend of “hostility to free enterprise.”
“I regard the Wall Street protest as a natural outcome of a bad education system, teaching [the protesters] really dumb ideas,” Gingrich said.
“They’re not angry about other people being successful,” he added. “They’re angry about an Obama administration stopping them from having a chance to be successful.”
In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) distanced the Republican Party from Cain’s previous remarks that the protesters should blame themselves if they are unemployed.
“Look, I don’t disparage anybody who protests their government for better government, no matter what perspective they come from,” Ryan said.
“Herman’s speaking for himself,” Ryan said. “I think we all want to actually see a climate of economic growth, of entrepreneurialism. And we don’t want to pit Americans against each other. That’s not who we are, and that’s not the kind of society that we want.”
In an interview on CNN, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, like Cain, implied that union organizers may be behind the protests.
“I went by one of the protests in Washington, D.C., on Friday and I saw a lot of signs from AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees) and other unions that were there,” Bachmann said. “So I don’t know how spontaneous these protests were but it seems to me that their anger should be directed at the White House, because Barack Obama’s policies have put us in one of the worst tailspins economically that we have.”
Ryan also slammed Obama for “sowing class envy and social unrest.”
“I think he’s preying on the emotions of fear, envy, and anger, and that is not constructive to unifying America,” Ryan said