WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2011 — -- Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain said he would not support rival Texas Gov. Rick Perry if he were named the Republican nominee, especially in light of reports of a rock near the Perry family hunting lodge that had a black racial slur written on it.
A rock near the entrance to a ranch where the Perry family leased a hunting camp was painted with the word "N---erhead," The Washington Post reported.
The slur has been painted over, but Cain said he finds this use of the word "insensitive."
"Since Governor Perry has been going there for years to hunt, I think that it shows a lack of sensitivity for a long time of not taking that word off of that rock and renaming the place," Cain told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour. "It's just basically a case of insensitivity."
Perry said today that his father painted over the word soon after the family leased the land, and that the rock was turned over to further hide the word.
"The old name has its origins from another time and era when unfortunately, offensive language was used to name some land formations around the country," Perry said. "When my dad joined the lease in 1983, he soon painted over the offensive word. It is my understanding that the rock was also turned over to further obscure what was originally written on it."
Cain said that even beyond what he called Perry's "insensitivity," he and the Texas governor are "too far apart" ideologically.
"I couldn't support him vigorously if he were the nominee," Cain said.
But with Cain's recent success, he has his eyes locked on becoming the nominee himself. His performance at recent Republican presidential debates helped him win the Florida straw poll last month and he has risen in nationwide polls as well.
A recent Fox News poll ranked him a close third at 17 percent behind Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who led the poll with 23 percent.
Cain said he plans to capitalize on this momentum by staying on course.
"We're going to stick with our strategy, by going to the people," Cain said. "Because my win [in Florida] was so convincing, it caused people to take note that there's something going on out here other than how the media is portraying this being one-, two-person race."
Cain: 'Would Have Been Appropriate' to Defend Gay Soldier Booed at GOP Debate
Cain says he should have intervened after audience members booed a gay soldier during a recent GOP presidential debate.
"I happen to think that maybe they were booing the whole 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal more so than booing that soldier. But we didn't know that," Cain said, adding that he now feels he should have spoken out.
"In retrospect, because of the controversy it has created and because of the different interpretations that it could have had ... that would have been appropriate," he said.
On Saturday, President Obama criticized all his GOP rivals for letting the soldier be booed.
"You want to be commander-in-chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it's not politically convenient," the president said.
Cain said he agrees with Obama, but he challenged the president for proposing defense spending cuts which he said were "putting a bull's-eye on the back on our men and women in uniform."
Cain Says Blacks' Loyalty to Democrats 'Brainwashing'
Cain's candor, while seen by some voters as a plus, has also gotten him into controversy, such as when he called black voters' loyalty to Democrats a product of "brainwashing."
"Some black people won't even listen to someone who appears to be a conservative or a Republican," Cain said. "I call that brainwashing."
Cain also came under fire after he said to a ThinkProgress.org blogger in March that he would not be comfortable appointing a Muslim to his cabinet if he were elected president. Cain's defense was that as president he would not allow the Islamic law code, Sharia law, to be introduced into the American justice system.
"Some people would infuse Sharia law in our court system if we allow it. I honestly believe that," he said. "American laws in American courts, period."
Potential rivals New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said people who are obsessed with the idea that there are those who want to inject Sharia law into American justice system are "crazies."
"Call me crazy, but there are too many examples of where there has been pushback," said Cain.
Still, Cain said he would support Christie jumping into the GOP presidential race. He said he respects Christie, but does not see Christie's potential presence affecting his momentum.
"He would be another person in the contest," Cain said. "It would still be up to the people."