Herman Cain told conservative activists the country is being ruined by "stupid people" and said liberals attempt to discredit President Obama's critics with accusations of racism.
Cain, a one-time Senate candidate and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, is the most prominent African-American considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination.
"They call me racist too because I happen to disagree with the president," Cain said at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday. "If you disagree about their liberal leader you must be a racist no matter what color you are."
Cain said his disagreement with Obama was based on policies, not race. "Some black people can think for themselves," he said.
He told the crowd: "You are not racist."
Last month, the 65-year-old formed a presidential exploratory committee and said he's considering launching a bid for the GOP nod.
During his speech to CPAC, Cain accused the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats of enacting too much regulation and keeping taxes too high.
"Stupid people are ruining America," he said.
In addition to railing against "Obamacare," Cain called for a scraping of the current tax code. "The only way to fix our messed up tax code is to pull it out and put in a whole new system," he said.
--Updated at 8:53 p.m.