The Washington Post

Herman Cain’s Libya moment explained

The media has had its field day with GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s difficulties finding something to say about Obama’s Libya action.

Herman Cain pauses to answer a question about Libya posed by The Milwuakee Journal-Sentinel.

It could well be that his problem is that he is overbriefed. He’s said he has sought and gotten policy advice from none other than Henry Kissinger and apparently from two Fox News regulars: former Defense Department official K.T. McFarland and former U.N ambassador John Bolton, as well as other folks.

He had conversations with McFarland about being in his cabinet and likely met Bolton several times in the Fox News green room and chatted as they waited to go on camera. They were also at a tea party gathering on the Fourth of July in Philadelphia and may have spoken at greater length there.

But for Cain, someone with no experience in foreign policy, getting advice on the fly from serious policy veterans — who speak in their own language and often presume folks have a fair amount of grounding on the issues — is extremely difficult.

So patience is required. In time, all that twirling may slow down.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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