Herman Cain's Foreign Policy Problem

The Fix:
Asked this past Sunday whether Iran’s involvement in an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. amounted to an act of war, Cain told “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory: “After I looked at all of the information provided by the intelligence community, the military, then I could make that decision.”

Pressed on the issue, Cain added: “If, if it’s an act of war, and the evidence suggests that, then I am going to consult with my advisers and say, ‘What are our options?’”

The leading 2012 GOP presidential contender also seemed not to know what a “neoconservative” was and offered a halting — though ultimately decent — answer on American policy toward Afghanistan.

Cain’s lack of detailed answers on foreign policy matters have not hurt him in the GOP presidential primary thus far for three reasons: 1) the Republican electorate is almost exclusively focused on the economy; 2) his candor is part and parcel of his “not a politician” appeal; 3) in a crowded Republican field, he’s been able to mask what he doesn’t know easily and effectively.

It's not the "lack of detailed answers" that bothers me. It's the fact that he punts on nearly every question. His go-to answer is, 'well, I'll consult with some experts'.

Now begins the ugly business of digging into Cain's experience and -- more importantly -- knowledge (or lack thereof). Stuff like this is not going to help.