Marvel at How Little Herman Cain Has Learned About Libya in 6 Months

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The candidate looked helpless when asked about it by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Apparently he's sought few answers since posing questions about the war in May.

In the video above, Herman Cain fields a question from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board and appears to have no clue why they might be asking about Libya, or what President Obama's policy was there. Eventually he says that he would've gotten more information than Obama did about the rebels, but he can't say how it would have affected his actual decision making.

Like Rick Perry's inability to remember one of the three federal agencies he would eliminate, the moment must be seen to be believed -- do watch above, no description is adequate -- and is damaging not because presidential candidates must know small details like the leader of Uzbekistan, but because Cain clearly hasn't thought at all about a war his country was fighting while he ran for president. Presumably he was briefed on it prior to Saturday's foreign policy debate. I asked him about Libya in our interview on May 25, 2011! Here's the answer he gave back then:

Clarity of what he's doing and why is more important than whether or not he has the authority to do it. I call it foggy foreign policy. It's not real clear where we're headed with that situation. We should have had a very clear plan before we got involved. So now the issue of does he have the power to commit resources at this point -- to me that is not as big a question as why are we there, whose side are we on, what do we expect to gain out of this, and how long is it going to take? The bigger question is what I'm most concerned about.

Apparently he wasn't especially concerned, because almost six months later he has learned nothing.

The man is not a quick study.

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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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