Daniels out - Cain in, but needs a refresher course on foreign policy

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Cain is not the first black Republican in recent times to run for president, as who could forget Alan Keyes's bid in 2000? Remember, when all of the GOP candidates that year had dropped out and it was just George. W. Bush and John McCain, and yet Alan stuck around for debates like the one in South Carolina hosted by Larry King?


Keyes later ran and lost badly to Barack Obama in 2004 for the Illinois Senate race.


So is Cain saner than Keyes? That remains to be seen, as so little is known about him other than the details about his biography (He's been a corporate CEO, and in recent years a talk show host based out of Atlanta).


On domestic issues, Cain at first blush seemed to be in the mainstream of GOP candidates, which is, to run far to the right (he is said to a favorite of some Tea Party members). He's for the "Fair Tax," the idea that you eliminate the I.R.S. and just hit everybody with a 23 percent sales tax. The idea's been around for awhile (Huckabee championed it actually four years ago), but unfortunately for its fans hasn't received much traction in Washington D.C.


But it was in terms of foreign policy on Sunday, however, that Cain looked at times woefully unprepared.


When asked about the extremely vexing Israeli/Palestinian conundrum, which is topical again in the wake of President Obama's speeches in recent days as Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu makes his case in D.C., Cain responded that he has no faith in the Palestinians, and will back Israel without demanding anything from them in the quest for any possible movement in a peace deal. When asked by Wallace would he do for the Palestinians, Cain said:


Cain:Nothing.


I’m not convinced the Palestinians are really interested in peace. If the Palestinians come to the table with Israel, with a genuine offer, that the two of them can sit down and negotiate, the United States would in fact try to facilitate that discussion.


But if we look at history, it has been clear that the Palestinians have always wanted to push the Israelis and push Israel for more and more and more.


Anyone with a cursory understanding of some of the disputes between the parties is the Palestinian demand for a right-to-return policy into Israel, going back before it was made a state in 1948. That's always been a non-starter for Palestinians, as Netanyahu made clear in his much talked about "lecture" of President Obama Friday at the White House.


But it was apparent that Cain didn't seem to have a clue about the issue after being queried by Chris Wallace.


Wallace:"Where do you stand on the right of return?.


Cain:The right of return? [pause] The right of return?
Wallace: The Palestinian right of return.


Cain:I think it should be negotiated.


Wallace:Do you think the refugees, the people that were kicked out of the land in 1948 should be able to have any right to return to Israeli land?


Cain:Yes, but not under Palestinian conditions. Yes, they should have the right to come back if that is a decision that Israel wants to make.


It's up to Israel to determine things they want to accept," he added. "I don't think they have a problem with people returning. The issue is that there are some things they simply don't want to give in on."


Wallace also questioned how serious Cain was about his candidacy, saying there was less than $20 in his campaign fund. Cain said that was an old account the Fox News host was referring to, and he's fundraising quite well, thank you. But he declined to say how well.

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For policy-wonk minded Republicans such as Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels was one of the Great Hopes to raise the gravitas level for the 2012 Republican field of candidate for president.

So undoubtedly they and a lot of others were undoubtedly bummed Sunday when the Indiana Governor announced via email that he would not run for the highest office in the land.

Analysts think it may boost the chances best for former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who makes his bid official Monday in Florida (you have to love the numerous times these guys actually "announce").

Speaking of another candidate announcing, that was Herman Cain appearing on Fox News Sunday to discuss who he is and his stances, after he declared himself in the 2012 race Saturday in Atlanta.

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