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Cain: Obama's ties to Wright not 'highlighted enough'

“It is fair if someone wants to highlight the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his relationship with Barack Obama because, quite frankly, it wasn’t highlighted enough in 2008 when he was running for president the first time,” Cain told Fox News on Thursday. “This administration, which has been shown to go after people who donate to Mitt Romney and try and slander their reputation, then, yes, it is fair game. I don’t think it is off-limits.”

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Republicans worked quickly to distance themselves from the controversial proposal Thursday. Prepared for a super-PAC run by billionaire Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts, the leaked pitch advocated spending $10 million on an ad campaign to link Obama and the controversial reverend and suggested the president had falsely portrayed himself as a "black, metrosexual Abe Lincoln."

Mitt Romney said the proposed attack ads were the "wrong course" and by Thursday afternoon Ricketts released a statement distancing himself from the proposal.

But Cain, who is black, said concerns that the proposed campaign would have been racially tinged were overblown.

“The reason that the liberals are going to call it racist is because President Obama is black and Jeremiah Wright is black. They’re going to call it racist. It is not racist," Cain said.

The pizza magnate went on to say "liberals want to play the race card when it is convenient" and note the president attended services in Wright's church over two decades.

Cain endorsed Romney in a speech near Capitol Hill on Wednesday, the latest in a series of endorsements for the former executive since leaving the race after a series of allegations of sexual impropriety emerged last year.

"I've met with him privately and now I'm telling everyone publicly, if Mitt Romney wasn't your favorite candidate for the Republican nomination, get over it," Cain said in a written statement. "We need unity to take back the White House, the Senate and keep control of the House of Representatives."