Huffpost Politics

Herman Cain Defends Foreign Policy Knowledge, Smoking Ad

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Herman Cain defended his foreign policy knowledge in an interview with Sean Hannity Wednesday night on Fox News. Cain quipped earlier this month that he did not need to know the president of Uzbekistan by name and said he "misspoke" in answering a question on a hypothetical prisoner exchange involving prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.

"To those critics, I would say to them, do you think I'm dumb enough not to study up on these issues? I have been studying on these issues for months. I can now explain right of return to any reporter better than they understand right of return because you know, you get caught off guard, you go to school and you learn," he said. Cain flubbed a question on the Palestinian "right of return" last May on Fox News.

"So, I challenge them to try to explain that to me. Secondly, I have been consulting with former ambassadors, former national security advisers, I have been consulting with a number of experts to get up to speed on some of the situations we have around the world. So, I have been just sitting still," he added to Hannity.

Cain recently hired former U.S. Navy commander and Fox News contributor J.D. Gordon as a foreign policy adviser to his campaign. When asked whether he was ready for "gotcha" questions in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, he said, "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?" As a result of the exchange, his campaign made a list of twenty foreign leaders for him to commit to memory. Cain's comments drew the attention of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai and Secretary of State Clinton joked about the comments when she visited Kabul.

Cain also defended his web ad featuring his campaign manager Mark Block smoking a cigarette. "All right. We have a saying in my campaign -- let Herman be Herman. This is the attitude that I have when I do debates, this is the attitude I have when I do interviews, let Herman be Herman. Mark Block is my chief of staff. And we also say, let Mark be Mark. Mark happens to be a smoker. He knows it's a bad habit but he smokes. And so, we weren't trying to send any subliminal message whatsoever. Many of us found it hilarious because we know Mark Block. So there was no hidden message there other than we were in Vegas and we wanted to put something new out on the Internet because I was inundated with other requests, and I trusted Mark Block, which I still do, and I thought he did a great job with the ad. The person who did the ad for us added that little thing at the end quite frankly that, as you say has caused all of the stir. But that was no hidden message other than Mark Block saying, America has never seen another candidate like Herman Cain."

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