Cain rejects criticism of latest Libya comments

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"He’s not suggesting the Taliban is running Libya, he's just saying we did not do a good enough job vetting who the opposition is,” Gordon told NBC News.

“You guys oughtta do your homework. It's interesting that he knows more than the media in this case." 

The imbroglio stems from an interview Monday with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. There, Cain struggled to answer a question about the Libyan conflict, pausing repeatedly throughout his answer and seeming unsure of his answer. Some political observers have compared the moment to Rick Perry's debate gaffe, where he was unable to remember the third cabinet-level department he would eliminate, and questions about the incident have dogged Cain since.

Gordon later said that Cain was simply tired from a hard campaign schedule. But when Cain himself was asked about the moment later, Cain said that presidential candidates were not expected to "know anything" on foreign policy, leading to additional questions about his preparation.

On Thursday, Cain said he was simply trying to take time to collect his thoughts during the interview.

“They spent more time focusing on when I’m not talking than when other candidates are talking. … That must have been a really powerful pause,” Cain said. “There’s the point they’re missing. I think before I speak.”

He also said that voters didn't expect him to know everything about foreign policy, and that “we need a leader, not a reader.”

Those statements prompted more questions about Libya during Cain's campaign stops in Florida on Friday. There, Cain tried to explain the difficulty of assessing the situation in Libya, leading him to ask a series of rhetorical questions that included the comment about the Taliban.

“Do I agree with siding with the opposition? Do I agree with saying that Ghaddafy should go? Do I agree that they now have a country where you've got Taliban and Al Qaeda that's going to be part of the government?” Cain said.

These foreign policy concerns come as Cain attempts to regain momentum in the face of multiple sexual harassment allegations that surfaced earlier this month. Since then, Cain has seen his once-robust poll numbers fall, and now finds himself in the middle of a "top tier" of Republican candidates that includes Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul vying for frontrunner status in the tight GOP field.



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