Authors: Jeanette Torres
(PHOENIX) -- Sheriff Joe Arpaio made it clear at a Phoenix press conference Monday that he was not officially endorsing anyone yet in the GOP presidential race, but took a moment to defend Herman Cain’s controversial “electric fence” comment.
At a stop last Saturday in Cookeville, Tennessee, along his Memphis to Nashville bus tour, Cain had explained how he would secure the U.S. border by building an electrified fence along the southern border of the country.
“I got an electric fence; it doesn’t kill people,” Arpaio said Monday at the press conference.
Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona added that most of the GOP hopefuls had already reached out to have a meeting with him. As for Cain, he said the two didn’t really talk. The last time he really spoke with Cain, he said, was three months ago in Vegas.
“I was impressed with him and I’m still impressed with him,” said Arpaio.
“I’ll tell you one thing that stands out with me, he’s sort of unconventional. I like to call myself controversia,” Arpaio, best known for his outspoken comments on illegal immigration and his harsh law enforcement tactics in the state of Arizona, said of Cain.
“I think that’s refreshing. The way things are going in this country, that’s why the people like him and support him, he’s a new fresh face and he’s telling it like it is. So I kind of respect people who are not typical politicians,” he said.
He also added that Cain defended his “electric fence” comment as a mere joke.
“He said it was a joke. And all I can tell you, I take controversy too. I have an electric fence around the tent jail. I have illegal immigrants there, I have illegals on the chain gang. So nobody goes after me. So why are they worried about him making a comment during a campaign, speaking from the heart. It just shows he’s frustrated with the government and he told a joke, I guess,” Arpaio said.
Arpaio added he’s had Perry and Romney call him but still hasn’t endorsed anyone.
“They come to me, I don’t call them,” he said.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio