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Cain's Foreign Policy Flubs

November 2, 2011

Amid all the buzz over the sexual harassment settlement against Herman Cain, relatively little attention was paid to a notable foreign policy flub the Georgia businessman made on Monday, during his appearance on PBS' NewsHour.

Asked how he would react to China's growing military influence, Cain said that he was worried that the country is "trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have." 

China tested its first nuclear weapon in 1964, and has been a nuclear power since then.

Comments like these are why much of the Republican establishment don't take Cain seriously as a presidential candidate, despite his strong showing in primary polls.  It's not the first inaccurate comment he's made on foreign policy.  In the early stages of his campaign, Cain declined to specifically respond to many foreign policy questions, instead saying he'd defer to his military advisers, if he was elected president.  His dismissal of foreign policy towards "Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan-stan" as a gotcha question highlights his mentality on the subject.

The Tea Party activists find Cain's authenticity refreshing, and they have a well-honed disdain for elitism - what Michael Barone recently referred to as a "revolt against the experts." But there's a difference between being skeptical of self-proclaimed experts and having a pattern of neglecting to get facts straight.  Even among the Republican base, that's bound to cost Cain in the long-run -- perhaps as much as the current scandal enveloping his campaign.

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