Herman Cain has stumbled on policy issues before, but his remarks on abortion Wednesday night to CNN’s Piers Morgan threatened to reverse his unlikely surge into the top tier of Republican White House hopefuls.

After initially saying that he believed in abortion “under no circumstances,” Cain appeared to change his tune entirely when pressed by Morgan about cases of rape and incest.

“It’s not the government’s role or anybody else’s role to make that decision,” Cain said. “Secondly, if you look at the statistical incidents, you’re not talking about that big a number. So what I’m saying is it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president, not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. And whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn’t have to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue.”

It was unclear whether Cain was referring specifically to cases of rape and incest in calling such a decision a “choice” or whether he was addressing all unwanted pregnancies.

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