ATLANTA -- Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain says he wouldn't hesitate to attack Iran if it attacks Israel first.
Cain told The Washington Times that if Israel is ever attacked first by Iran, he would "make it crystal clear [that] if you mess with Israel, you're messing with the United States of America."
Cain stressed that his policy would not be a "blank check" for Israeli military action. Cain is a former CEO of Godfather's Pizza who has also hosted a radio talk show in Atlanta.
He was interviewed by the newspaper after he met Monday with Israel's ambassador to U.S., Michael Oren.
Cain's spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment Monday night.
Though perhaps considered a longshot contender for the Republican presidential nomination, Cain has found success in appealing to voters on the right side of the aisle on the trail. The Atlant Journal Constitution recently reported:
But with success comes scrutiny, from rivals and the media and, ultimately, the voters.
Recently, Cain found himself immersed in controversy after saying he would not be comfortable appointing a Muslim to his Cabinet or to a judgeship. And the political inexperience that gained him favor has also drawn criticism, especially in foreign affairs.
The AP reported over the weekend:
Cain opposes a planned Tennessee mosque that has been the subject of protests and legal challenges.
Cain didn't bring up the controversial facility in a campaign rally on Thursday, but told reporters afterward that he's concerned about the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.
"It is an infringement and an abuse of our freedom of religion," he said. "And I don't agree with what's happening, because this isn't an innocent mosque."