Republican White House contender Herman Cain, his candidacy under increased scrutiny and heightened criticism as he has moved to the top of some national polls, said today his willingness to admit mistakes is a presidential quality.

“The thing that I think is going to convince people that my campaign is credible is the fact that if I make a misstatement, I’m willing to retract it. If I make a mistake, I’m willing to admit I made a mistake,” Cain told reporters after a $500-a-person private fundraiser at a downtown steakhouse.

Asked by reporters if such a quality was presidential, Cain responded, “Yes it is, because the last perfect person was hung on a cross 2,000 years ago,” a reference to Jesus Christ.

The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO has been forced to try to clarify a wide range of remarks involving such topics as abortion and immigration, raising questions about whether his nascent campaign is ready for the bright lights of the nomination.