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Transmission

Cain Not Focused On Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan

U.S. presidential candidate Herman Cain has recently emerged as a serious contender for the Republican Party's nomination.
U.S. presidential candidate Herman Cain has recently emerged as a serious contender for the Republican Party's nomination.
Herman Cain's time is precious.

The Republican presidential hopeful's calendar is booked up with all sorts of demands. He's got a book to sell ("This Is Herman Cain! My Journey To The White House"), and a "9-9-9 Plan" for tax reform to promote. With a schedule like that, when would he possibly have time to prepare for the inevitable gotcha questions of presidential politics like, "Who is the president of Uzbekistan?"

Not only does Cain not have time for this sort of arcana, he has absolutely no intention of even pretending to make time for it.

In a recent interview with a U.S. television network, Cain said, "When they ask me who's the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, I'm going to say, 'You know, I don't know. Do you know?' And then I'm going to say, 'How's that going to create one job?'"


WATCH: Herman Cain doesn't need to know about Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan.

According to an October 7 Gallup poll of Republican voters nationwide, Cain is currently running a close second behind former Massacusetts Governor Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination to challenge U.S. President Barack Obama in the November 2012 general election.

Cain further explained his methodology thus: "I want to focus on the top priorities of this country. That's what leaders do. They make sure that the nation is focused on critical issues with critical solutions. Knowing who is the head of some of these small, insignificant states around the world, I don't think that is something that is critical to focusing on national security and getting this economy going. When I get ready to go visit that country, I'll know who it is. But until then, I want to focus on the big issues that we need to solve."

U.S. relations with Uzbekistan recently made headlines when President Barack Obama placed a September 29 phone call to Uzbek President Islam Karimov to congratulate Uzbekistan on its 20th anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union.

It is widely believed that U.S. officials are looking to improve relations with Uzbekistan, which stands to provide the United States with vital supply routes into Afghanistan should America's relationship with Pakistan continue to deteriorate. Obama has made America's war effort in Afghanistan a top national security priority. 

America's relationship with Uzbekistan, which saw a surge of mutual cooperation in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, cooled significantly after the Karimov regime publicly killed several hundred of its own citizens in the Uzbek city of Andijon in 2005.

RFE/RL regulars hardly need to be reminded that Karimov is a notorious human rights abuser whose greatest hits include the boiling-to-death of his political prisoners.

-- Charles Dameron

Tags: United States,Uzbekistan,Islam Karimov,Herman Cain

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Comments
     
by: HS from: Seattle, WA
October 11, 2011 22:34
Mr. Cain is plain and simple a bigot. "Insignificant"? Someone of Presidential caliber should recognize that every human being and every citizen of any country deserves a degree of respect. Calling entire countries "insignificant" is disrespectful and rude at a minimum, but mostly ignorant and insulting. Mr. Cain is the kind of person that 150 years in the South would ignore the human rights of African-Americans since they were considered to be "insignificant" in America of that time. The key focus of the civil rights movement was that every human on the planet deserves respect. Yet he is not disrespecting millions upon millions of people. Has he learned nothing of that painful part of U.S. history?

by: vlad from: us-moldova
October 12, 2011 07:10
I agree with Mr.Cain. At least he is honest. Mr.Obama promises everything and anything knowing it is not going to be done. Tired of politicians trying to look smarter and better then they really are. To see somebody honest is so unusual. I would vote for Mr.Cain.

The President does not need to know the name of every dictator in the world. The President has the whole department for that. More important is the US government not trying to please those dictators, close their eyes at their atrocities.
In Response

by: pay attention from: USA
October 18, 2011 16:21
You think Herman Cain is honest? i hope that is a joke, he is a flat out liar. He pretends his ideas are his, he says "a poet once said" and proceeded to quote the song from pokemon. I do believe he got the 9-9-9 idea from sims and he straight out lies during debates. He calls people ignorant for wanting to audit the Federal Reserve and then when asked about it he lies saying he never called anyone ignorant. His numbers don't add up, and they never will because he likes to pretend he's great at math but he just pulls numbers out of thin air.
Yes the president doesn't need to know all the dictators in the world, however he has a responsibility of being the face the United States. That being said he will have to interact with other countries presidents, dictators, prime ministers so in a way it is better if he does know a little bit about them so he wont look dumb. He is just trying to find an excuse to be what he is, a moron.
In Response

by: Jake from: Virginia
October 19, 2011 17:18
That is a bold statement calling him a flat-out liar. And your statement that "He pretends his ideas are his" is comical. Reread that statement and hopefully you will see why, otherwise you should consider never posting on a discussion board again. You should have said, "he claims OTHER'S ideas as his own." Further, he never claimed those lyrics as his own, so that invalidates part of your argument. Also, it is not uncommon for individuals to refer to musicians as "poets," because they are "lyricists." So what if he used lyrics from a Pokemon song? If they have substance, he should every right to quote them. So what if he refers to Donna Summer as a poet? She's a legend in the music industry and is, in fact, a poet. Your arguments are completely flawed and one could sit here all day long and poke holes through your rhetoric. However, most of us have lives to which we must attend rather than monopolize our time by responding to your worthless opinions that are supported by nothing but your own careless thought process.
In Response

by: april from: boston
October 18, 2011 20:19
Yes... But there has to be some happy medium between being a complete dick and being honest about your opinions (or lack of opinions) on global matters.
In Response

by: Franklin from: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
October 18, 2011 21:48
This is some stupid thinking. First you say that this question is like others "making journalists appear smarter" Thank god that is their job or we'd have some dumb ass presidents fumbling their interviews all over the place. Then you say that the pres doesn't need to know "every dictator" in the world...do you KNOW what the hell a dictator is?..

The president is commander in chief, he leads a team, the team is not there to lead him, espicielly on what the name of a countries leader(s) are. My 4th grade cousin knows the names, capitols, and cities of each country, and god help me i will vote for him over whoever people like you choose to vote for.

Bigot.

by: vince scopa from: Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine
October 12, 2011 08:59
Having lived and worked in central asia and the former soviet union for the past 9 years I can understand not knowing who the president is in Uzbekistan, or Kyrgyzstan, or Turkmenistan, or Tajikistan etc. Most are president for life, except in Kyrgyzstan, where they a revolution every 5 years. The sad thing is 90% of Americans cannot find any of these countries on a map. when I call my bank in the USA from Kiev, the person I speak to wants to know what state Kiev is in. before we throw stones make sure we are not in a glass house.

by: whoever from: wherever
October 12, 2011 20:29
Yeah, not a big deal. Most Americans (more than 90%) don't know where Uzbekistan is, probably never even heard the word before. I would also guess that most Uzbeks are unfamiliar with Missouri. Did Obama, Bush II, Clinton, or Bush I know where Uzbekistan was before an advisor told them?

by: Rose from: CO
October 18, 2011 16:05
I am starting to think that Herman Cain is a joke by the media and people are just taking it seriously. Even he believes that he has a chance of winning the election with all his "ideas".

by: Just a Thought from: USA
October 18, 2011 23:36
Regardless of Uzbekistan's current place on the world stage, it is just plain ignorant and foolish to insult an entire country. I used to be embarrassed for my country whenever I heard about some political gaffe of blunder done by George Bush (Jr); I really hope Americans do not have to go through that again with another ignorant man leading us. I don't expect our President to know the name of every leader of every country in the world, I DO expect him to treat those leaders with at least a modicum of dignity and respect.

by: Mike from: San Diego,CA
October 19, 2011 01:32
Honesty can only go so far. The reality is that if he were President in 2012, he would have to interact with foreign nations. Uzbekistan is a critical ally in Global Defense, as they are one of the countries in talks with the US to station American missile defense systems in their country. That plan is crucial in the eyes of the Pentagons plan for a global missile defense shield. If Mr. Cain is not aware of these issues as President, how is he going to handling a situation with such geopolitical tensions. Tensions especially coming from Russia, where they have warned the US against not stationing the shield anywhere near their country. This is a touchy issue which involves Nuclear warfare. How can I trust a former Federal Reserve Chairman who loves Alan Greenspan to protect the value of my Dollar? How can I trust the former CEO of Godfathers Pizza with negotiations involving Nuclear Defense? Ignorance is no excuse if you are applying for the most important job on the Planet.

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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