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Herman Cain stumbles badly on Libya question

at 04:56 PM ET, 11/14/2011

In an interview today with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain visibly struggled to explain his position on President Obama’s Libya policy.

The video is particularly damaging for Cain, who has struggled on matters of foreign policy in the past.

Asked if he agreed with the president, Cain said, “Okay, Libya,” and then was silent for about ten — yes, ten — seconds, before asking, “President Obama supported the uprising, correct?”

Cain then said he did not agree with Obama’s handling of the uprising, before adding: “No, that’s a different one. I’ve got to go back, got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me did I agree or not agree with Obama.”

Finally, Cain concluded that he “would have done a better job of assessing the situation relative to the opposition first, before I made decisions about what we would do” but did not spell out any differentiation on policy.

It’s worth watching the whole five minutes.

“He was on about four hours of sleep after flying from Atlanta to Wisconsin. He just took a moment to get his bearings. He just had to take a moment to articulate his ideas,” Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said. “He didn't say anything wrong. He didn't say anything inconsistent with his beliefs. It may be how the video was edited.” 

Other Republican candidates have been somewhat inconsistent on Libya. Both former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney have alternately argued that President Obama was too weak and too aggressive. But Cain’s obvious lack of familiarity with the president’s position does not look good. At all.

It also comes less than a week after Texas Gov. Rick Perry spent nearly a minute trying to remember the third federal agency he would eliminate if elected president.

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