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