Herman Cain: Sure, I can see myself releasing everyone at Gitmo in exchange for one U.S. POW; Update: I misspoke, says Cain

posted at 7:10 pm on October 18, 2011 by Allahpundit

Via Greg Hengler and Guy Benson, if this answer doesn’t destroy him, nothing will. I get the sense watching it that he’s so unsure of how to answer this exceedingly easy question that he defaults to Netanyahu’s position on the assumption that prisoner swaps must always be the wise, statesmanlike, conservative thing to do. The alternative, that he knows what he’s talking about yet is still sincerely inclined to release the guy who planned 9/11 plus dozens upon dozens of other jihadi fanatics in exchange for one G.I., is even worse. I’d bet 95 percent of people asked on the street could answer this correctly, yet somehow our frontrunner not only blows it but feels obliged to hedge weakly by noting that he’d need all the facts to make a proper decision. Here’s a fact: Khaled Sheikh Mohammed blew up the World Trade Center. What other facts do you need?

And to think, I thought this would be his worst foreign-policy answer of the week:

Halfway through the question about the electric fence, Cain butted in with “it was a joke!”

“Let me first say it was a joke, and some people don’t think that it was a good joke, and it’s probably not a joke that you’re supposed to make if you’re a presidential candidate,” Cain continued. “I apologize if it offended anyone. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.”

Only, it might not be a joke, he later said, before finally saying he just doesn’t want to offend anyone.

“I don’t like to offend anyone…however, I don’t apologize for using a combination of a fence. And it might be electrified — I’m not walking away from that,” Cain backtracked. “I just don’t want to offend anybody. It was a joke to the extent in the context of the views of that speech, but in terms of what we need to do, I fully intend to do so because I’m more sensitive to our citizens being hurt.”

Ace flags a few other giant gaps in Cain’s foreign-policy knowledge and asks, “Has ‘homework’ and ‘thinking things through, in advance’ become ‘un-conservative’ over the past year?” When I hear him give answers like the one he gives below about Gitmo, it makes me wonder why he wants to be president in the first place. If you’re this disengaged from one of the executive’s core duties, why would you want those duties at all? It’d be like me trying to get hired at an accounting firm because I think I can “make a difference” even though I know zip zero zilch about accounting. Normally I hate pop-quiz foreign policy questions that candidates get like “Who’s the prime minister of Nigeria?”, but after all these gaffes I’m thinking the media’s well within its rights at this point to test Cain on basic stuff. And I don’t mean who the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan is. I mean stuff like, “Is Iran a Sunni or Shiite country, and why does that matter?” Anyone who’s read the news intermittently over the past 10 years should be able to offer a basic answer to that one. I’d be curious to hear Cain’s.

This isn’t his only new problem, either. A study by the Tax Policy Center that’s out tonight claims his 9-9-9 plan would raise taxes on 84 percent of U.S. households. If you don’t trust their analysis, try Ramesh Ponnuru’s skeptical take on Cain’s plan in Bloomberg today or Grover Norquist’s misgivings about it when talking to ABC yesterday. In fact, Stephen Moore, who helped Cain devise the plan, has already started to walk back part of it, saying that the sales tax aspect should be dropped in favor of a nine-percent payroll tax instead. Exit question: Have we seen Cain’s high-water mark now come and go?

Update: I didn’t see it happen live, but Guy Benson tells me that Cain was interviewed again by Blitzer shortly after the debate and said he “misspoke” in his Gitmo answer. We’ll have to wait for the clip tomorrow for his full response.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3 6

Oy vey.

lorien1973 on October 18, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Second look at Ron Paul!

lorien1973 on October 18, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Mr Cain…I wanna support you, so please kindly shut it.

thebrokenrattle on October 18, 2011 at 7:14 PM

WOW

gophergirl on October 18, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Sure, I can see myself releasing everyone at Gitmo in exchange for one U.S. POW

People… Cain is an idiot.

sharrukin on October 18, 2011 at 7:14 PM

lorien1973 on October 18, 2011 at 7:12 PM

you took the words right outta my mouth
—————–
Let’s go Perry!

cmsinaz on October 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Done.

RedNewEnglander on October 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

NEWT 2012! AWW YEAH!!

fiatboomer on October 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Oy, I didnt want him to implode until later.. sigh. Well yeah if this isnt brought up at the debate to destroy him I would be shocked.

nswider on October 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Herman, hire a handler…spend the money…your answers, your policies are no different, the others are just better prepped…hire a handler.

right2bright on October 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

This is going to be a LONG 13 months to election day.

These kinds of statements are going to make me start buying Tums in bulk.

portlandon on October 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

So, we have Mitt Romney.

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

So…Newt?

amerpundit on October 18, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Back to Perry…only if the last man standing is Mitt will I…

right2bright on October 18, 2011 at 7:16 PM

nswider on October 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

its anderson cooper, so he’ll focus on the social issues…

cmsinaz on October 18, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Nothing tops his

“I didn’t say I wouldn’t consider Muslims (for cabinet positions), I said I wouldn’t consider any jihadists.”.

Cain 2012!
No Jihadists In The Cabinet!

aquaviva on October 18, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Oh my! Herman, you NEVER, negotiate with terrorist. Ever!

GFW on October 18, 2011 at 7:16 PM

SMH.

For the love, Herman…

nickj116 on October 18, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Yeah “OOF” if you’re incapable of imagining yourself wondering if the kidnappers have beheaded your son this week and you won’t learn about it until the video shows up on youtube.

Besides, there’s a lot of things we can’t do to terrorists while they’re inside Gitmo.

Dropping hellfire missiles on them is one.

Khorum on October 18, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Ugh. Maybe I’ll just write in Frank Zappa.

ronsfi on October 18, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Ok, the gitmo thing is really dumb. Really, double face-palm dumb.

Looks like Newt will be the next front runner.

The electric fence though, isn’t dumb. In fact India is building two electric fences, on it’s borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh, to keep rabid muslems from crossing and killing people.

Rebar on October 18, 2011 at 7:17 PM

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

I think it hurts Romney actually and makes Perrys path easier.

nswider on October 18, 2011 at 7:17 PM

lmao..guy is not a credible candidate. it’s either perry or romney, face it.

therightwinger on October 18, 2011 at 7:17 PM

I hope Rick Perry has an illogical, disjointed, rambling argument to attack Cain on this.

portlandon on October 18, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Another one bites the dust!

RedRobin145 on October 18, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Pop Quiz!

Which of the current candidates and the current occupier of the White House could answer any of AP’s questions?

I’ll take none of them for $100, Alex.

Bah.

kim roy on October 18, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Can I get a refund, Herb?

Ugh.

Knucklehead on October 18, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Let’s go Perry!

cmsinaz on October 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Now would be the time for him to kick some GOP rear end.

gophergirl on October 18, 2011 at 7:18 PM

I might be wrong, but it sounded to me like he was saying he could make the decision to either trade them or not, not that he would trade them.

Whatever though.

Aquateen Hungerforce on October 18, 2011 at 7:18 PM

cain is not a serious candidate for POTUS.

he’d be a fantatsic sec of commerce.

i love him – but not for potus.

reliapundit on October 18, 2011 at 7:19 PM

What are you guys getting so excited about? Obama would have done likewise to get his teleprompter back.

Syd B. on October 18, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Oh My..:)

PS..Old Rickory here is your opening..:)

Dire Straits on October 18, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Maybe we don’t need folksy humor after all. Huckabee was enough of a turn off.

Taranto at “Best of the Web” makes some fun of Cain’s blunder via headlines:

Maybe They’ll Be Electrified by Herman Cain
“Many Hispanic Voters Are on Fence About Obama in 2012″–headline, Miami Herald, Oct. 17

onlineanalyst on October 18, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Dropping hellfire missiles on them is one.

Khorum on October 18, 2011 at 7:16 PM

I would also release all the Gitmo Prisoners in exchange for one American. I would fly them over to the Middle East, and release them all at about 30,000 feet.

portlandon on October 18, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Second look at Ron Paul!

lorien1973 on October 18, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Darn right.

He’s the only candidate who has proposed and committed to a plan that will balance the budget by the end of his first term. Heck, he’s the only candidate who has committed to a specific plan to balance the budget before 2060!

I’ll say it again: the only candidate! It’s time to get serious, and if you don’t have a plan to balance the budget, you’re not serious.

Inkblots on October 18, 2011 at 7:19 PM

I hope Rick Perry has an illogical, disjointed, rambling argument to attack Cain on this.

portlandon on October 18, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Is it the Cain who before he was before… against the troop swap when he was before it?

Aquateen Hungerforce on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Cleanup in aisle 9-9-9.

ElectricPhase on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

I haven’t even read the comments section – but I’ll bet the Cainlusionals are spinning like tops trying to defend him!

HondaV65 on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Oh My..:)

PS..Old Rickory here is your opening..:)

Dire Straits on October 18, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Yes it is.

Of course now I really want to throw up before the debate. Think I’ll watch the Wild game instead and peek in on the comments.

gophergirl on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Which of the current candidates and the current occupier of the White House could answer any of AP’s questions?

No? Obama and Romney couldn’t answer that question? I’ll take that bet.

Any Hot Air commenters want to try answering my extremely difficult question about why it matters whether Iran is Sunni or Shia? Apparently, it’s beyond the ken of all of our presidential candidates.

Allahpundit on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

He was joking./

Buy Danish on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Cain 2012!
No Jihadists In The Cabinet!

aquaviva on October 18, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Ha ha ha ha… oh, geez…

Inkblots on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

I hope Rick Perry has an illogical, disjointed, rambling argument to attack Cain on this.

portlandon on October 18, 2011 at 7:17 PM

LOL – oh man, I’m laughing so hard.

lorien1973 on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Oof is right. Newt sure would be hard to go over to, but might be the best not-Romney.

clement on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Fourth look: Gary Paul?

mythicknight on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Hey guys…

… I have to go coach little 7%’s Pop Warner football team so I am going to miss the live debate.

Herman…

… do you want to come with me?

/

Seven Percent Solution on October 18, 2011 at 7:21 PM

I might be wrong, but it sounded to me like he was saying he could make the decision to either trade them or not, not that he would trade them.

Yes, as should be clear from headline. And I noted that he hedged. The question is, why is trading them even on the table? That’s insane.

Allahpundit on October 18, 2011 at 7:21 PM

I think it hurts Romney actually and makes Perrys path easier.

nswider on October 18, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Yep, I agree. I was being facetious. Romney is at the very, very bottom of my list to become our nominee.

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Dang, Cain, you’re makin’ it really hard…

cozmo on October 18, 2011 at 7:21 PM

gophergirl on October 18, 2011 at 7:18 PM

yes indeedy…

just found out i won’t be able to watch the debate tonight…will be depending on the fine HA posters to inform me….

HA rocks!

cmsinaz on October 18, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Apparently, it’s beyond the ken of all of our presidential candidates.

Allahpundit on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Not all of them…

Inkblots on October 18, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Does this help Bachman in Iowa? Second look at her? Ok, yeah probably not lol.

nswider on October 18, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Has anyone at CNN asked this question of any Democrat, like Obama or Hillary?

Didn’t think so.

Really Right on October 18, 2011 at 7:22 PM

Miss me yet?

thebrokenrattle on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Help us Sarah ben Kenobi your our only hope @

William Amos on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:21 PM

lol. I know I know.

nswider on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

My fantasy football is still viable.
Gingrich/Perry
or
Perry/Gingrich

It would be a very nice ticket.

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

So now we are down to Newt, Santorum, and yeah… even crazy uncle Paul.

sharrukin on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Does anyone here watch the video but me? Cain is only saying he “could make the judgment” not that he WOULD do it. It’s tantamount to saying that all options are on the table for something and that you have to be prepared to make critical decisions.

Sheesh people.

BierManVA on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Have any of you even watched the clip? He said “He COULD make that decision”…as in if he had to. He never said it was the right thing to do or that he would even come to that same conclusion. He said if he had to, after all things considered, he would. Jeez.

Vigilante on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

lol. I know I know.

nswider on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Kind of funny that Romney supporters are so few here that we know all three of them by name.

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Perry/Gingrich

It would be a very nice ticket.

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

THIS

cmsinaz on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Miss me yet?

thebrokenrattle on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

That was just cruel.

sharrukin on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Nor is this the first FP gaffe by Cain. He is really out of his league in Foreign affairs.

William Amos on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

It would be a very nice ticket.

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Not if Perry’s at the top of it.

Or Newt “Sofa” Gingrich, for that matter.

Inkblots on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Herman Cain: Sure, I can see myself releasing everyone at Gitmo in exchange for one U.S. POW

A perfect example of “Penny wise, pound ton foolish” if ever there was one.

InkyBinkyBarleyBoo on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Skip Huntsman ’12.

portlandon on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Look, you’ve watched the man. He obviously hasn’t thought about something like this and he was on live TV. It’s the safe answer if you don’t think about it.

Aquateen Hungerforce on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

@ BierManVa

LOL…great mind you have there.

Vigilante on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Vigilante on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

it shouldn’t be an option

cmsinaz on October 18, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Have any of you even watched the clip? He said “He COULD make that decision”…

Vigilante on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Exactly – and that’s why he looks utter ridiculous and clueless.

You would never release all the prisoners in Guantanamo for ONE prisoner.

Never.

HondaV65 on October 18, 2011 at 7:25 PM

These kinds of statements are going to make me start buying Tums in bulk.

portlandon on October 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

I’ve already started buying boxed Mylanta, like the wine that comes in boxes.

TxAnn56 on October 18, 2011 at 7:25 PM

UGGGGGGHHHH
ETOGHJERJGEHR

blatantblue on October 18, 2011 at 7:25 PM

It’s hard to believe Cain thinks there’s any scenario that includes releasing KSM. He can’t go free. Ever. I don’t care how many facts Cain analyzes.

I’ve been reluctant to rule out any of the top candidates. Till now.

(I hope he knows who KSM is.)

SlaveDog on October 18, 2011 at 7:25 PM

cmsinaz on October 18, 2011 at 7:22 PM

We will do our best to keep you posted..:)

Dire Straits on October 18, 2011 at 7:25 PM

It’s abundantly clear at this point that Cain isn’t running to become president, he’s running to sell a lot of books and hopefully get a show on Fox.

Inkblots on October 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Yes, as should be clear from headline.

Also, you’ve been known to snark, so I read that as a “yes, I would make the swap” headline. Fwiw.

Aquateen Hungerforce on October 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

BierManVA on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Vigilante on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

You don’t negotiate with terrorists and Cain made it clear he would.

sharrukin on October 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

My Take on which candidates could answer:

“Is Iran a Sunni or Shiite country, and why does that matter?”

Cain: No
Mitt: Yes
Perry: No
Bachmann: Yes (she’s a fan of Steyn and Lawrence Wright)
Newt: Yes
Paul: No/Maybe (not sure about Ron Paul)
Santorum: Yes
Huntsman: Yes

aquaviva on October 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Not fair man, there are at least FOUR of us, get it right, lol.

nswider on October 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

3rd look at Perry!

In a year where a competent, truly conservative (or libertarianish conservative) could wipe the floor with Obama; we get this bunch of idiots. We are screwed.

melchitt on October 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

That was just cruel.

sharrukin on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Never look back, sharrukin. It’s the only way to heal.

Inkblots on October 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Anyone still talking about Buddy Roemer?

RedRedRice on October 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Perry/Gingrich

It would be a very nice ticket.

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

THIS

cmsinaz on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

One of the few pairings from the current field that has much, much experience and the ideas of Newt would give us some excitement.

Newt says he will challenge Obama to seven, three hour debates without a moderator and that Barrack could bring along his teleprompter if he desired.

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

We will do our best to keep you posted..:)

Dire Straits on October 18, 2011 at 7:25 PM

thanks buddy…drink a glass for me tonight ok?

cmsinaz on October 18, 2011 at 7:27 PM

If you should wait for all of the information Herman then you DONT say “I could see myself doing that”.

William Amos on October 18, 2011 at 7:27 PM

I don’t think Allah’s characterization of the comment is accurate.

There is an urgency in the Republican establishment and punditocracy to squelch this campaign.

The man is being very careful not to make bold proclamations about things for which he does not know. That is a character strength, in my opinion.

What do we want, someone who can bluster on and on about what they will or will not do in regards to foreign policy when they no access to intelligence information? Or do we want an honest man of good character and strong leadership who will say freely, “here’s the kind of leader I will be, and when I have all the information, you can trust my decision making because of X,Y, and Z?

I’m not sold on Cain. But this Republican fever to tear away at his fledgling frontrunner status is more disconcerting to me than his willingness to say “I don’t know yet.”

IronDioPriest on October 18, 2011 at 7:27 PM

gophergirl on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

C’mon..Join the debate chat..It will be good..:)

Dire Straits on October 18, 2011 at 7:27 PM

Help us Sarah ben Kenobi your our only hope @

William Amos on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Miss me yet?

thebrokenrattle on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

I am seriously considering that a Draft Palin movement might need to be done. These GOP Hacks running now are floundering big time.

portlandon on October 18, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Honestly, it sounds like a compassionate thought that would be prevented by reality. I don’t see it that bad, as plenty of Americans would say the same thing, but not do it because the situation is so terrible.

rob verdi on October 18, 2011 at 7:28 PM

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

that would be very cool

cmsinaz on October 18, 2011 at 7:28 PM

I want Newt to sign the “no new Scozzafavas” pledge; then I will support him with tens of dollars.

Seriously, F it all. Newt’s the best of what’s left. I just hope he has extensive excuses when the press beats him with his ex-wife baggage.

fiatboomer on October 18, 2011 at 7:28 PM

No? Obama and Romney couldn’t answer that question? I’ll take that bet.

Any Hot Air commenters want to try answering my extremely difficult question about why it matters whether Iran is Sunni or Shia? Apparently, it’s beyond the ken of all of our presidential candidates.

Allahpundit on October 18, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Apparently objective analysis when it comes to Cain is beyond your ken. In the very clip you linked to, Cain said he would have to consider all the facts.

Yes, I know that’s just a cop-out to you and the rest of the punditocracy. But nowhere did Cain say he would categorically make that decision. There is a scenario whereby he might indeed release all the Gitmo prisoners – as a brilliant ploy, as they’d all be embedded with trackers. We know they’re going to pop up sooner or later. Meanwhile, our GI could have critical intelligence of their operations.

Essentially what you’re arguing Allah is that it would be categorically unacceptable under all circumstances to make a trade of one for a thousand, or in this case all the gitmo prisoners. That’s easy from the pundit’s chair, and Cain has been in your very chair. He’s running for president now, and he knows the pundit answer is not the correct one.

BKennedy on October 18, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Sure, Allah. Just ruin my entire evening :(

pbundy on October 18, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Does anyone here watch the video but me? Cain is only saying he “could make the judgment” not that he WOULD do it. It’s tantamount to saying that all options are on the table for something and that you have to be prepared to make critical decisions.

Sheesh people.

BierManVA on October 18, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Yeah. It’s definitely in line with his rather milquetoast approach to foreign policy, which is definitely of concern. However, he’s still green on foreign policy to begin with, so it’s likely he’s moving slowly and leaving everything open until he gets a change to really hit the books.

MadisonConservative on October 18, 2011 at 7:28 PM

That was just cruel.

sharrukin on October 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

The reality of our challenger to Obama is pretty cruel, but yes it was.

thebrokenrattle on October 18, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Seems to me that if 1 Israeli life is worth 1000 Palestinians, makes the Palestinians worthless. Same thing with 1 GI’s life…worth at least 1000 jihadists.

gracie on October 18, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Never look back, sharrukin. It’s the only way to heal.

Inkblots on October 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

They said she was inarticulate, they said she was dumb.

Boy I am sure glad that dumb statements and inarticulate candidates aren’t a problem we have to worry about any more! ///

sharrukin on October 18, 2011 at 7:29 PM

These kinds of statements are going to make me start buying Tums in bulk.

portlandon on October 18, 2011 at 7:15 PM

I’ve already started buying boxed Mylanta, like the wine that comes in boxes.

TxAnn56 on October 18, 2011 at 7:25 PM

I’ve replaced my two gallon water container in the fridge with Maalox.

carbon_footprint on October 18, 2011 at 7:29 PM

I’ve already started buying boxed Mylanta, like the wine that comes in boxes.

TxAnn56 on October 18, 2011 at 7:25 PM

LOL. That is funny. A box of Mylanta in the fridge with a spigot in it. LOL.

I think I’ll need some Tylenol Gel Caps for the Headaches too.

portlandon on October 18, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 6