Cain Issues Absurd Non-Apology For "Princess Nancy"

November 10, 2011 4:20 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Herman Cain

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) may have "stepped in it" when he froze up during last night's GOP presidential debate, but Herman Cain didn't do himself any favors by referring to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as "Princess Nancy" — a nickname he uttered repeatedly when he hosted a radio show before launching his campaign. Today, Cain issued an insincere apology, equating what he said with Pelosi's description of the Tea Party as "AstroTurf" in 2009:

"I apologize for calling her 'Princess Pelosi,' if that's the biggest story you all have, OK?" Cain told reporters after addressing supporters at a diner in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

When asked why he apologized, the former pizza executive said, "So you all will stop asking me about it, OK?" [...]

"I remember when Speaker Pelosi called me and the tea party people 'Astroturf,'" Cain said. "I don't remember anybody asking about that story."

Obviously, Cain can't expect to be taken seriously when he admits his only reason for apologizing is to shut people up. But it's downright bizarre for him to suggest that mocking the former Speaker of the House as a "princess" is no more inappropriate than Pelosi's characterization of the Tea Party.

It's well established that conservative groups backed by the Koch brothers, among others, organized and funded Tea Party events across the country. In fact, a leaked internal memo from GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney's campaign describes David Koch as the "financial engine of the Tea Party." So Pelosi's claim — which Cain likely only heard because of media coverage he denies ever happened — was rooted in fact.