Hillsdale, Michigan (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain laid out his foreign policy and national security strategy on Tuesday - and attempted to slam the Obama administration's credibility in those areas.
The candidate also used noteworthy tactics to make some of his points: citing Facebook to explain America's "friends" and enemies, speaking without a teleprompter amid questions about his foreign policy expertise and providing a rare glimpse into his personal life.
Political Notebook: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Bob Costantini talk about Herman Cain’s now-more-troubled candidacy. Dems go after Romney. And Shira Toeplitz of Roll Call talks about House retirements versus staying put.
Yet in a day dominated by political news coverage of an alleged extramarital affair involving Cain, his denial and his intention to reassess his campaign in the wake of the allegations - the event at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan was free of any talk of it from the candidate himself.
Veiled comments in Cain's opening remarks suggested he might address the issue from the stage.
"Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible," Cain said. "It's never easy when there's so much on the line."
And yet Cain followed the comments with an apparent lecture to the attending students, delivered in typical Cain fashion - in a rhyme.
"You can make a difference. There's a mission just for you. Just look inside. And you will find, just what you can do," Cain said.
From there, the conservative Georgia businessman waded into complex foreign policy, seemingly to silence critics who have questioned his prowess in that area.
"What can the United States of America do as it relates to peace in the world? I happen to believe that national security and foreign policy are inseparable," Cain said.
"In terms of what we need to do to play our role – not as policemen for the world, but as the leader in peace for the world."
"Without a strong national security effort, foreign policy will be too foreign."
Cain reiterated the mantra he's recently used to explain what his campaign calls the Cain Doctrine. The candidate's "peace through strength and clarity" stance is a riff of the conservative slogan credited to President Ronald Reagan.
Cain stressed three areas on which the U.S. must flex its muscle: through military, economic and moral strength.
"I happen to believe we have allowed our military to get too weak," Cain said at one point, citing the lowest number of active U.S. ships "since 1915."
"That's not strength. The world is not safer," Cain continued, vowing to increase the number of active ships in a Cain administration.
"Rather than the current philosophy of cut, cut, cut, I believe that our priorities should be invest, invest, invest," Cain added, referring to past and intended budget cuts to the military.
On economic strength, Cain talked about American exceptionalism pushing the nation toward a 25% Gross Domestic Product despite having only 4.5% of the world's population.
"We have done so much with so little," Cain said.
As he often does, the candidate cast the Obama administration's policies on national security and foreign affairs as misguided and anemic.
"U.S. leadership right now has slipped because of weak policies and, in all honesty, weak leadership which starts at the top," Cain said.
He reiterated his criticism of the U.S. troop withdrawal plan for Iraq, saying it will create a "power vacuum" to be filled by negative elements in Iran. And Cain warned: "In Afghanistan we run the same risk of leaving too soon."
Cain also talked about an uncertain future in the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan and expanded on how he would combat terrorists and cyberattacks.
While laying out his thoughts on America's friends and enemies, Cain displayed the global density of Facebook connections on a map.
"Where you see the most light, that's where there's the most amount of freedom. Where you see the most light is where you see the greatest amount of economic development," Cain said. On jumbo maps broadcast on huge screens off stage, regions such as Canada, the U.K., Japan and Israel lit up.
"You'll also note on this map that some of the darkest areas are the Communist areas because they deny their citizens access to this global economy and this global information source called the Internet," Cain added. On the map, North Korea, Iran and Russia remained dark.
On moral strength, Cain recalled a story that not only elicited laughs from the audience but also provided a rare glimpse into the Cain household.
The candidate recalled his shock while watching the U.S. Open last year and hearing a group of children omit the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.
"I was sitting in my favorite chair, in front of the TV next to the kitchen. [My wife] was in the kitchen preparing dinner," Cain said, causing light giggles from the audience.
"What?" Cain joked. "That's what we do in our house on a Sunday. I sit in the easy chair and she prepares dinner."
25% GDP growth...hahahahaha. Oh god, you can't make this stuff up!
I beg your pardon, Mr. Cain...."Foreign policy expertise"???????????This man has been prompted with questions and their answers ...That's why he stumbled so badly at the last debate....he mixed them up and couldn't get back on track. Check the palm of his hand....maybe he had the answers written there!!!! What a joke!!!!!!
"citing Facebook to explain America's "friends" and enemies" Really? Using facebook to develop foreign policy? This is a joke, isn't it?
He is Not gpoing to be the Republicn nominees for president a) because of the recent sex scandals/ affair and b) teh unspeakable but QED obvious reason. which is based on the fact the S0UTHERN states tend to be the stongest Republican voting areas.
He should save us all time and money.
►"Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible," Cain said. "It's never easy when there's so much on the line."◄
Shoot – the only thing on the line is your marriage!! You embarrassed your wife and your family by allowing this to be exposed to the whole world. Now I know why your wife NEVER showed up at any debates and was NEVER at your side. You lied when you claimed she wanted to stay in the background so she will be there when you get home. Yes, she was in the background alright but maybe it was because you NEVER came home.
The brainwashed BLACKS on the RIGHT feel good about this because we don’t have to explain it to no one – we also knew this all along!!!
Sounds more like a manifesto !
Give it up cain. Save your money. You are going to need it for the divorce.
This man is such a liar, What happened to moral values, Not Cain's but his supporters? People know the character of these candidates, from Romney, Newt, Perry and Cain, right on down to Bachmann and still these people are voted for, With the hope that, maybe, just-maybe, they are telling the truth . . . This time. We see, the politics in Washington, the obstruction of advancing this country beyond it's failed policies, like the infamous "Trickle Down Theory" We have a good man who's biggest fault is trying to reach across the aisle for the sake of the whole US of A. Period. Compared to the rest, This president is a keeper. Obama 2012
"From there, the conservative Georgia businessman waded into complex foreign policy, seemingly to silence critics who have questioned his prowess in that area". Shannon Travis, you are an idiot! Anyone can study for a test by cramming to pass but when that test is done, the mind becomes a total blank. In Herman Cain's own words, "I don't have to know about foreign policies or where Obama stand on foreign issues, I just don't agree with him and I would have done it different. Because that's what they tell the republican candidates to do, Anti Obama at all cost. Period. LOL! You people are all tools. Obama 2012
Cain's idea of "peace through strength and clarity" is nice but not enough. If we are to lead in a moral way; take the moral high road as it were, we need to play by the rules. That means all the rules and especially ours. If we can't follow our own rules, how are people going to take us seriously. It shows that we have no moral high ground and can't dictate to other countries what we want them to do. Besides, Cain can't really talk about the moral high ground either since he has multiple "issues" with women.
Herb Cain/Sarah Palin 2012.....