Huckabee tries to outdo Perino on Cuba; Update: Video added; Update: Are Cuba and Arkansas as disconnected as Huck claims?

Well, there are two ways to look at this. One, Mike Huckabee doesn’t know much about foreign policy. Two, at least we know who his press secretary will be.

On Cuba, Thompson criticized Huckabee, who in 2002 asked President Bush to lift the embargo against that country, saying it “has not helped the people of Cuba.”

“He thinks we should lift the embargo against Castro. I disagree with that,” Thompson said today at the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami. “I think it raises issues when politicians change their views on a dime to appeal to a particular group of people right before an election.” The governor recently issued a statement saying he supports the embargo.

Huckabee defended himself in Miami this morning, according to CBS News’ Joy Lin, saying his “major concern” in 2002 was to try and “revive a sagging economy” impacted by the recession. “Our rice markets were in trouble…At that time, my primary responsibility was simply to hear the concerns unique to my state,” he said.

Since then, Huckabee said, he had been able to find new markets for the rice market by going to Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea to find Asian markets for the state’s rice. Another reason for the policy change, explained Huckabee, was that he was “really not that aware” of the issues the issues that exist between Cuba and the United States.

“Being in Arkansas, that’s not one of the issues I am in close proximity with,” he said.

“…really not that aware” of the issues between the United States and Cuba. How is it even possible for someone who wants to be president not to know of the issues that stretch back to 1959 between the US and Cuba? Never mind the war that the US fought against Spain that ended up wresting Cuba from the Spanish empire. How could he not be aware of any of this? I was never governor of Arkansas or any other state, yet I’m aware of the issues between the US and Cuba.

Can we reasonably expect Huckabee to know the difference between a Shia and Sunni and how that might be relevant in the world today? Is that asking too much of someone who wants to run the foreign policy of the United States of America?

All this ignorance among our dear leaders is giving me a gigantic headache.

Update (AP): Here’s the video from Special Report.

Update (AP): I keep doing this piecemeal, in the course of other posts, but there are now enough examples of Huck’s ignorance or suspected ignorance in policy matters that it might be worth compiling them and putting them in their own entry. Revisit the AIDS post for a few. He thought the new NIE was four years old; he thought ICE was still known as INS; he thought Gitmo was a fine idea until he talked to some retired generals about it, and then very suddenly he didn’t; he thought the danger of transmitting HIV through casual contact was sufficient to warrant a quarantine six years after we knew it wasn’t; and now he appears to have known less about U.S.-Cuba relations than the average citizen until, at best, five years ago. And that’s not counting his adoption of the Fair Tax, which some conservatives regard as so nutty as to be practically disqualifying of any candidate who proposes it.

Here’s Mitt’s new ad, his first specifically targeting Huck, bypassing all of that and serving up some red meat. Sharp and effective. Meanwhile, Mickey Kaus and Dan Riehl both want to know why Huck’s suddenly gotten so shy about releasing his old sermons to the public. It’s not hard to guess in light of Drudge’s hit job on him this morning, but when it comes to presidential candidates, the more information we have, the better. Don’t worry about the Drudges trying to stir up garbage; if anything, that sort of thing only wins Huck votes. Let’s see the sermons.

Update: E-mails are trickling in now along the same lines as Dan Riehl’s post here. Arkansas may not be in “close proximity” with Cuba, but they’ve had enough proximity in the past to have possibly cost Bill Clinton the gubernatorial election in 1980.