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October 31, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer departed from his usual neutral-interviewer role on Sunday to lecture Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain about a scene in his current campaign ad in which his chief of staff, Mark Block, is seen taking a drag on a cigarette and exhaling the smoke at the camera. Cain is then seen smiling, almost wickedly at the camera. Explaining the commercial, Cain said that the only message it was meant to send was “Let Mark be Mark. … Let people be people.” At first, Shieffer remarked that he thought that the ad made smoking look “cool.” Cain disagreed, maintaining that it was intended to make his campaign appear to be unique. At that point, Schieffer set aside his usual detached approach and scolded Cain. “I had cancer that’s smoking-related,” he said. “I don’t think it serves the country well — and this is an editorial opinion here — to be showing someone smoking a cigarette. And you’re the frontrunner now, and it seems to me, as frontrunner, you have a responsibility not to take that kind of tone with this.” Schieffer then asked if he would remove the ad from his website. Cain, appearing chastened, acknowledged that 30 percent of the responses to the ad were negative. However, he said, “It’s on the Internet. … We could take it off of our website, but there are other sites that have already picked it up. It’s nearly impossible to erase that ad from the Internet.” In the end, Schieffer prompted Cain to warn people in the audience: “Smoking is not a cool thing to do.”