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The Gaffe That Almost Wasn't
Freedom Torch ^ | 11/18/11 | Todd Maxwell

Posted on 11/18/2011 9:43:45 AM PST by justsaynomore

The smear campaign against Cain continues

By now the internet, radio, television, and wagging tongues everywhere are all abuzz over the latest campaign blunder by Herman Cain. But is it really the gaffe everyone says it is? Or was it a selective editing job a la Ed Shultz?

Well, call me cynical, but I’ve seen enough media shenanigans to be suspicious of anything taken out of context and this definitely tripped my radar. In the clip that has gone viral (below), Cain does appear to be caught off-guard by a question on Libya, a topic he ought to have been ready for.


My first reaction was to wonder how many clips like this land on editing room floors instead of online. In a world used to hyper-slick video and equally slick candidates, a moment of thought gathering can seem disastrous. Still, this isn’t about a some candidate’s “senior moment.” Rather, it is about a hatchet job gone awry.

This clip was released by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel along with the entire half-hour interview it was taken from. For my part, I think the whole interview is worth watching as Cain performs admirably. But for those who just want to get to the goods, skip ahead to about the 20 minute mark.


What a difference a little context makes!

The clip that went viral begins with one reporter asking, "So, you agreed with President Obama on Libya or not?" Seems like a follow-up to a related question. But in the full length video, one can clearly see that Cain was responding to a question about Bush’s policy of promoting democracy abroad. Suddenly, the interviewer tosses up the question, turning it into one about Obama. He didn’t even ask a complete question.

Whatever Cain might have said would have been placed in context of his previous answer. No doubt to make some bizarro equivocation between Bush and Obama. Cain wasn't about to let himself get drawn in and instead tried lay down a different context before answering. When Cain says, “I just wanna make sure we’re talkin’ about the same thing before I say ‘Yes I agreed’ or ‘No, I didn’t agree,’” he is establishing the framework for his answer, not struggling to remember where Libya is on the map.

Did Cain fumble? Of course, he was lobbed a rotten toss. Could he have done something better with it? Hindsight usually tells us "yes." But does this so-called "gaffe" reveal a woeful lack of knowledge of foreign policy on Cain's part? Hardly.

Rather, it seems that this group of reporters thought they were setting up a clever “gotcha” moment that didn’t pan out. One reporter asks the Bush question and another suddenly shifts gears to Obama without touching the clutch. But their little "gotcha" setup didn't produce the desired results. So, robbed of the gaffe they thought they had so cleverly set up, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was forced to run with Cain's pause as the next best thing.

The video is very amateurish, with lots of shuffling and ambient noise. MJS is a newspaper, so I'm not faulting that. But it does why the so-called pregnant pause was there at all. In the full interview, Cain can be seen and heard speaking freely and knowledgeably about Libya and a range of other topics, including collective bargaining, the economy, finance, ObamaCare, his support among women and African Americans, Occupy Wall Street, and much more. He is shown deftly fielding questions from at least four separate reporters and demonstrating that he is readily knowledgeable about every area he is quizzed on.

But when it comes to Libya, the reporters repeatedly try to put words into Cain’s mouth, (“So, you are saying…”) which he resists. When Cain seeks clarification to the Libya question, the reporter explaining even seems to have some difficulty. That's because Bush never got involved in Libya, so the supposed connection made no sense.

Besides, given how much attention was paid to Libya in the press, it’s downright ridiculous to think a presidential candidate would be so woefully prepared for the topic. Even prepared, the reporter’s vague inquiry would be difficult to answer. After all, in spite of how the story ended for Colonel Gaddafi, the Obama position on the matter changed almost daily as the late-colonel’s days were running out. Which of Obama’s positions was being referred to? That should set off buzzers in most people’s minds.

All the same, pundits of all stripes were quick to pounce in an attempt to ensure that the prophecy which states “no outsider shall be nominated” shall be fulfilled. Cain’s pause—routinely billed as being eleven seconds, but I time it at only eight—was taken as evidence that the presidential candidate doesn’t have a firm enough grasp of foreign policy issues to be commander-in-chief. Others used is as an excuse to drag up the sexual harassment allegations that went nowhere. One of the odder claims was that the entire GOP lineup is now toast. (Aren’t they even going to take a swing at Newt?)

Some conservative talkers declared the Cain-Train derailed, calling his flub an unforgivable embarrassment for the movement. Harder hits suggested that his campaign’s initial response—that Cain was tired—only indicates that Cain wouldn’t be able to handle the proverbial “4 am phone call.” Old attacks on the 9-9-9 plan were dusted off, though sounding hardly more convincing than before.

Of course, none of this would get the slightest credence if it weren’t for the fact that the media knows the electorate prefers appearances over substance. The question of context ought to be a natural one, but it’s not. Instead, a moment of thoughtful reflection, taking the care not to answer an important question blithely, gets contorted into evidence of shallowness and unpreparedness—precisely the opposite! Cain, ever the gentleman, seems to be taking the event in good humor, saying he is flattered that the media now scrutinizes his pauses since they cannot attack what he actually says. He may be the first candidate to actually be above the finger-pointing and name-calling that the current gaffe-master-in-chief so bemoaned four years ago.

The fact remains that Herman Cain is an intelligent and qualified outsider that the media--liberal and conservative alike--feels it is their duty to destroy. If it takes a few lies and misrepresentations to do it, so be it.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: gaffe; hermancain; libya
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Take off your biased blinders and see the TRUTH !

41 posted on 11/18/2011 11:53:18 AM PST by American Constitutionalist (The fool has said in his heart, " there is no GOD " ..)
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To: justsaynomore

We should invite vetting of all our candidates.

But the media has been mostly silent on Romney.

We cannot let the media choose our nominee. Obviously they are fearful of a Herman Cain nomination.

42 posted on 11/18/2011 12:01:43 PM PST by MN_Mike (Governor Sarah Palin for the win! Piper Palin for President 2036 (Biden: Gird YOUR loins))
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To: American Constitutionalist


43 posted on 11/18/2011 12:22:55 PM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they cannot be deceived, it's impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: justsaynomore; montyspython

I did watch the portion of the video with the question leading up to the Libya question. It was a discussion of the Bush policy of promoting the overthrow of dictators. Cain answered to the effect of of they are happy with their system we aren’t going to try to talk them into democracy. Libya was an obvious question, since it was pretty obvious that people weren’t “happy” with their dictatorship. Not that I’m sure how you determine if people living under a dictatorwhip are “happy”. Rather than try to determine their happiness, I would prefer judging based on what’s in our national security interest first. But in any case it shouldn’t have been a hard question to answer. He either had a brain freeze (happens to everybody, and he said things were “twirling around in my head”), or he hasn’t been following what has been going on there.

BTW, I get pretty sick of you Cain supporters saying anyone who disagrees with you is lying. You are entitled to your opinion on the video, but if you accuse me of lying you ought to have the brainpower and decency to spell it out as to what you think is a lie. Or read the rules for posting on FR.

44 posted on 11/18/2011 5:39:21 PM PST by Hugin ("Most time a man'll tell you his bad intentions if you listen and let yourself hear"--Open Range)
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To: Hugin

I never said you lied. I said I am tired of smears based on lies. The media who is the ones who are lying and misrepresenting Cain, but there are some folks on FR who are carrying forward those lies as truth.

If you have a problem with that, please go ahead and ping the moderators or Jim Robinson.

45 posted on 11/18/2011 6:01:49 PM PST by justsaynomore (
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To: American Constitutionalist

I am impartial. You clearly are seeing what you want to see. I don’t see anything edited, other than cutting out a question and answer verbatum. Editing would be the kind of thin 69 minutes does, showing the answer from one quetion as an answer to another, or cutting out part of an answer or question. I don’t see any of that.

That’s normal. Grow up or get a hanky.

46 posted on 11/18/2011 6:03:00 PM PST by Hugin ("Most time a man'll tell you his bad intentions if you listen and let yourself hear"--Open Range)
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To: justsaynomore; K-oneTexas; Tucker822; Kartographer; freekitty; carmody; Dead Corpse; MsLady; ...


47 posted on 11/19/2011 5:34:23 AM PST by stephenjohnbanker (God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.)
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To: NFHale

Hewitt is a caspar milquetoast RINO

48 posted on 11/19/2011 5:52:01 AM PST by stephenjohnbanker (God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.)
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To: stephenjohnbanker

Yeah I kind of got that impression, too.

He just wouldn’t stop with the slams against Cain. It was very irritating.

49 posted on 11/19/2011 1:02:00 PM PST by NFHale (The Second Amendment - By Any Means Necessary.)
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To: NFHale

Hewitt, and a whole host of others, sad to say.

50 posted on 11/20/2011 7:24:04 AM PST by stephenjohnbanker (God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.)
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To: stephenjohnbanker; hiredhand; Gilbo_3; sickoflibs; Squantos; Impy; DoughtyOne

Different tangent here:

Check out this Russian news babe around the 20 second mark, when she says “Americanski Prezident Barack Obama...”

Even the commies are dissing the *ssclown.

Ya gotta love it!!!!

51 posted on 11/21/2011 12:25:47 PM PST by NFHale (The Second Amendment - By Any Means Necessary.)
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