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Candidates' Foreign-Policy Gaffes -- PICTURES Candidates' Foreign-Policy Gaffes -- PICTURES

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National Journal-CBS Presidential Debate / CAMPAIGN 2012

Candidates' Foreign-Policy Gaffes -- PICTURES

November 8, 2011

Foreign-policy "oops" statements can be a matter of semantics, as shown by President Obama's latest gaffe referring to Nazi death camps as "Polish death camps." We take a look at the 2012 presidential candidates' less-than-stellar statements about foreign policy.

Herman Cain raised eyebrows during an Oct. 31 appearance on NewsHour. Asked how he would react to China's growing military influence, Cain said he worries that China, a country that tested its first nuclear weapon in 1964, is "trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have."(JOHN RAOUX/AP)

While criticizing President Obama's decision to intervene in Libya, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., suggested that "elements of al-Qaida in North Africa and Hezbollah" were fueling the Libyan revolution. Bachmann said she was referring to information she's privy to as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, but did not elaborate.(CHET SUSSLIN)


On Oct. 1 in New Hampshire, Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested that, as president, he might send U.S. troops into Mexico to beat back drug and gang-related violence. "It may require our military in Mexico," he said, offering no further explanation.(MARY ANN CHASTAIN/AP)

In a span of a few weeks in March, Newt Gingrich went from advocating for a no-fly zone in Libya to criticizing the U.S. presence in the conflict. Gingrich, however, claims that his opinion didn't shift. "There’s a certain inevitable variation of my comments because I’m responding to a rapidly changing circumstance. But my principles are very clear," he said.(CHET SUSSLIN)

When asked about the threat of al-Qaida securing a Pakistani nuclear weapon during a Sept. 22 debate, Rick Santorum encouraged more relationships with allies in the country, like President Musharraf, whom he directly named. The only problem? Musharraf hasn't been the president of Pakistan since 2008, when he fled the country under suspicion of being involved in former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination.(RICHARD A. BLOOM)


Texas Gov. Rick Perry also punted on the question of Pakistani nuclear weapons. When asked at a debate, he gave a convoluted answer that suggested he would sell F-16 jets to India to contain the problem. "The point is, our allies need to understand clearly that we are their friends, we will be standing by there with them. Today, we don’t have those allies in that region that can assist us if that situation that you talked about were to become a reality," he explained.(ANDREW HARRER/AP, POOL)

Cain made another foreign-policy flub during an October interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, when he said that he didn't know the name of the president of "Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan." Jokes aside, Cain's statement suggests he wasn't aware of Uzbekistan's potential role as a military supply route to Afghanistan -- or the international sanctions issued against President Islam Karimov's human rights abuses.(EVAN VUCCI/AP)

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