The ad, which ran during Super Bowl XLVI, featured an Asian actress speaking in broken English. She dubbed Hoekstra’s opponent Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenators target 'gag clauses' that hide potential savings on prescriptions Nonprofit leaders look to continue work with lawmakers to strengthen charitable giving 10 Senate Democrats are up for reelection in Trump country MORE (D-Mich.) “Debbie-spend-it-now.” Hoekstra defended the ad against charges of racial insensitivity, but the featured actress apologized for taking the role. The video was later removed from the campaign website.

Cain criticized the “outrage” over the ad, saying that as a candidate he lacked similar defenders. 

"You’re going to tell me that that little girl walking out there saying what she said is racist? When you’ve had some people on the left calling me names,” he said. “They called me an Uncle Tom, they called me a sellout, they called me shameless’ … Where was the outrage over that?”

Since dropping his bid for the White House late last year, Cain has touted his “9-9-9” tax-reform plan, rallied with comedian Stephen Colbert, endorsed Newt Gingrich as the GOP presidential nominee and hit the campaign trail for Republicans including Hoekstra and “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, who is running for a House seat in Ohio.