On Monday, Cain released an ad that criticized the effect of the tax code on small businesses, using computer-generated effects to show a rabbit being catapulted into the air and then shot by a man with a rifle. As a presidential candidate, Cain proposed eliminating the tax code and replacing it with his "9-9-9" plan.
The ad was considered disturbing by some, and even prompted removal by YouTube (which put it back up following a review).
"The rabbit that we shot was a toy, stuffed rabbit. It was not a real rabbit," Cain said. “The objective of the rabbit ad is to get people to wake up to fact that we need to throw out the tax code and start over."
Similarly, a recent ad showing a suffocating goldfish — representing "the economy on stimulus" — did not harm the animal, he said.
“I point out to them that the goldfish is still alive. We didn’t kill the goldfish. We put the goldfish back in the bowl," he said.
The American Humane Society and PETA both criticized the ad and Cain's suggestion that a real goldfish was used.
But Cain said the ads had achieved their purpose: to garner attention.
“We live in a 24/7, information-overload society. If I went out there with namby-pamby ads to drive home a point, nobody would notice ... it is intended to be provocative,” he said, according to multiple reports. “We are going to continue with that strategy.”