Ahead of debate, Cain downplays ‘media pop quizzes’ on foreign affairs

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Ahead of Tuesday night’s foreign policy debate, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is downplaying the significance of knowing all the facts about world leaders and issues of national security.

“I think it’s clear by now that I am not going to score the best of all the candidates on media pop quizzes about the details of current international events,” Cain wrote in an email to supporters Tuesday.

Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, made the argument that it is simply not necessary to memorize all the facts about foreign policy.

“As president, I would not be required to make decisions on the spur of the moment based on a question from a reporter,” Cain said. “I would make them the way I made them as a CEO — based on careful consideration of all the facts and the best advice of the best people.”

“Some have claimed that I take some sort of perverse satisfaction in not knowing all these details,” he added. “That is not true. I want to know as much as I can.”

“But a leader leads by gathering all the information available in a given situation, and making the best decision at the time based on that information, and in accordance with sound principles.”

Cain made news last week after appearing to stumble on a question about his views on Libya during a meeting with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also took flak for telling the paper that, “I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy.”

But in his Tuesday letter to supporters, Cain says that’s not the message he was trying to convey. The candidate said it’s not true he doesn’t think he needs to know “anything” about foreign policy — instead, Cain said he doesn’t need to know “everything” on the subject.

“Bizarre things happen when you run for president, one of which is that statements like this go viral, with people claiming I had somehow made the case that no knowledge of world affairs is required for the job,” Cain wrote. “I obviously don’t think that.”

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