Herman Cain should have been more afraid to sit with David Letterman on Friday than he was to submit to a recorded session with the editorial board of the New Hampshire Union Leader. While the former pizza chief was bound to face some tough questions from the editorial board, the late-night comic proved a tough and skeptical interviewer. It was death by a thousand laughs.

When Letterman queried Cain about his position on China, the flagging front-runner repeated his pablum to “outgrow China militarily and economically.” The CBS funny man nailed this head-scratchery when he asked, “How do we outgrow them when we’re in such debt to them now as it is?” Cain said his “9-9-9” plan would allow the United States to surge ahead of China, thus achieving his totally naive “outgrow China” strategy. Letterman pushed back, saying, “You don’t even know what it means.”So true.

Later, Letterman said that it is incumbent upon those who make a lot of money to pay more in taxes. Cain countered that, under “9-9-9,” folks in the upper incomes would spend more and thus help the economy. Letterman shot him down: “That’s the old trickle-down and it doesn’t really work.”

Then Letterman got to the issue he really wanted to talk about: the “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” comment. Or as Letterman put it, “Beki-beki-beki-uzi-uzi-uzi-stani-stani-stani,” which he deemed “not very presidential.”

LETTERMAN:What was the question to which the answer was, Beki-beki-beki-stani-stani-stani-uzi-uzi-uzi?
CAIN: The question was “Mr. Cain, since you lack foreign policy experience, why do you think you can still be president?” And the response was “To be president, I don’t need to know who’s president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan. I need to develop a good relationship with our friends and with our enemies.” So it was to drive home the point, a leader doesn’t need to know all of the details.

Actually, that’s not how Cain’s infamous ignorance came about at all. It was during an interview last month with CBN’s David Brody.

BRODY:Are you ready for the gotcha questions that are coming from the media and others? Like who’s the president of Uzbekistan? It’s coming. All of this stuff and how are you dealing with that?
CAIN:I’m ready for the ‘gotcha’ questions and they’re already starting to come. And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I’m going to say, ‘You know, I don’t know. Do you know?’ And then I’m going to say, “How’s that going to create one job?”

Cain would call what I’ve just done “flyspecking.” That he let those words flow from his uninformed lips, I would call appalling.