Herman Cain Tells Occupy Wall Street Protesters to 'Blame Yourself'

Romney calls protests "class warfare"; White House "understands" frustration.

ByABC News
October 5, 2011, 2:50 PM

Oct. 5, 2011 -- A pair of Republican presidential candidates had some harsh words for the protesters who've been hectoring Wall Street for the past three weeks: Cut out the "class warfare" and "blame yourself" for being poor and jobless.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said the demonstrators are coming across as "anti-capitalism." The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza said the Occupy Wall Street protesters are trying to distract the country from President Obama's "failed policies."

"Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks, if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!" Cain said. "It is not a person's fault because they succeeded, it is a person's fault if they failed. And so this is why I don't understand these demonstrations and what is it that they're looking for."

At a campaign stop in Florida Tuesday, Mitt Romney said the demonstrations were "dangerous" and "class warfare."

When ABC's Emily Friedman asked Romney today about the protests, the GOP front-runner declined to elaborate on his previous comments, saying "I'm just trying to get myself to occupy the White House."

But while these Republicans are condemning the protests, some Democrats have sympathized with the thousands of people who have camped out in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that the administration "understands" why people are frustrated.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson of Connecticut applauded the protesters for "standing up for what they believe in."

About 2,000 people were expected to descend upon lower Manhattan in New York City today as 15 of the country's largest labor unions joined the demonstrations in Zuccotti Square. Copycat protests have sprung up around the country from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles to support a wide range of causes, the most prominent of which is ending corporate greed.

"In New York and across the country, thousands of Americans have taken to the streets, certain of the morality of their message: bringing fairness to Main Street," Larson said in a statement. "The silent masses aren't so silent anymore. They are fighting to give voice to the struggles that everyday Americans are going through.

On ABC News' "Top Line" Tuesday, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., likened the movement to the Arab Spring protests that rocked the Middle East this year.

"I think people are deeply disturbed, and we all have to remember that we're in this mess today because Wall Street got greedy," Speier said. "I think that they have lost their moral compass, and I think that's what you're hearing from the people who are just coming together in disgust, in fear, in anger."

New York police said at least 1,000 people have been arrested so far in the mostly peaceful demonstrations. Last Saturday alone, 700 protesters were arrested for blocking traffic while marching on the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Consumer Financial Protection Board's former interim chief, Elizabeth Warren, who just launched her bid in Massachusetts for Sen. Scott Brown's U.S. Senate seat, said protesters should, first and foremost, follow the law, but she added that "people on Wall Street broke this country, and they did it one lousy mortgage at a time.

"The housing market remains a bane for Massachusetts and the country," Warren said. "We need to ... take serious and hard steps to get this housing market to level out so we can start rebuilding our economy."

ABC News' Dennis Powell, Emily Friedman, Jake Tapper, Shushannah Walshe and Nancy Gabriner contributed to this report.