Cain Camp Again Blames Foreign Policy Flub On Lack Of Sleep

Reposted by arrangement with Think Progress

Last month, GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain answered on live television that he would trade all the terrorism suspects at the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for U.S. hostages. “I could see myself authorizing that kind of transfer,” he said. Within just a few hours, he was asked about it again, again on live television and this time during a primary debate, and he quickly recanted his original answer, explaining that he’d “misspoke.” A friendly source explained to a conservative website that Cain’s original answer “was the result of lack of sleep and doing too many media appearances.”

Now, after Cain’s inconsistent, rambling five-minute answer to a question posed by a newspaper editorial board as to whether he supported the Libya intervention, Cain’s campaign is again explaining away his bizzarre comments by blaming them on a lack of sleep. The Associated Press reports:

Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said Monday that Cain had four hours of sleep because of a busy campaign schedule when he sat for the interview. He said Cain took his time answering because the candidate wanted to make sure he was focusing on the right problem.

The Cain campaign also lashed out at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial board, with Gordon alleging that the video of Cain’s answer to the simple question (“So you agree with President Obama on [intervening in] Libya, or not?“) was “out of context in some measure.” The editor of the Journal Sentinel, Martin Kaiser, shot back on CNN today: “Trying to spin it and say it was edited or handled some other way is just not accurate.” Noting that it was a “pleasant conversation” and not a grilling, Kaiser went on:

I have to admit, quite a few of us have been in the business a long time, been through a number of these kinds of interviews, and afterwards we were really sort of stunned.

Watch the CNN interview with Kaiser here:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) ripped Cain’s answer in an interview with Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin:

There are individual candidates that need to step up their game… Each candidate has to demonstrate for the public that they’re ready for the job. And no one expects a person who hasn’t been commander-in-chief before to know everything about every topic, but Libya? I think it’s fair to ask our candidates to articulate a position. Cain has got to convince people that he’s got the depth of knowledge [to be president].

Cain, who compared U.S. foreign policy to making pizza, has been beset by a series of gaffes and errors, despite declaring several times that he is now a foreign policy expert. Perhaps it is just the grueling campaign schedule, but what of the grueling schedule of a U.S. President?

Ali Gharib

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.