Cain: How do you say that in 'Cuban?'
November 17th, 2011
11:16 AM ET
11 years ago

Cain: How do you say that in 'Cuban?'

(CNN) - While campaigning in Miami on Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who's taken heat over his knowledge of foreign policy, dodged questions on issues related to Cuba.

Asked by a reporter if he supported the "wet-foot, dry-foot policy," which allows Cuban immigrants to stay in the United States once they get in, Cain responded: "Wet-foot, dry-foot policy?"

The Miami Herald reports that Cain's handlers then intercepted the questioning and rushed Cain away from the press. When he came back later, Cain didn't answer another question about the topic, instead saying, "Gotta run, gentleman," the newspaper reported.

In a speech earlier in the day, Cain seemed to outline his approach to Cuba without going into specifics.

"One of my principles is: Go to the source closest to the problem," Cain said. "I want to get from Cuban leaders [in South Florida] a solution of what we should do."

Cain, whose campaign surge kicked off in Florida about seven weeks ago when he won a closely-watched straw poll in the state, drew enthusiastic crowds throughout the day at different stops.

Later at Versailles Restaurant, located in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, a reporter asked about President Barack Obama's decision to scale back some travel restrictions to Cuba, to which Cain reportedly said that was a "gotcha question."

Surrounded by much fanfare, Cain enjoyed a pastry at the restaurant's bakery, asking at one point with his mouth full, "How do you say 'delicious' in Cuban?"

A supporter quickly answered back: "Delicioso." The word is in Spanish, as there is no "Cuban" language.

"Delicioso," Cain repeated, while still chewing. "Delicioso."

The exchange was caught on a Fox News camera.

Later in the day, the Miami Herald reported that Cain had fleshed out his answer on the "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy. He said he didn't find it fair to force those who made it so close to the U.S. to go back to Cuba and risk going to prison, but added that he was opposed to the policy and that there must be "a better way."

Cain has repeatedly been criticized over his approach to foreign policy. On Monday he made headlines when he stumbled through his thoughts on Obama's actions in Libya, seeming to not understand U.S. involvement in a situation that's been in the international spotlight for much of the year.

He also raised eyebrows when he indicated last month in an interview that he was unaware China had nuclear capability, yet the country conducted its first nuclear weapon test back in 1964.

Others have criticized Cain's attitude toward international affairs, most notably hitting him for joking in an interview that he didn't know the president of "Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan." After the comment, Cain's campaign reportedly made a list of 20 foreign leaders that Cain should memorize.

Filed under: Cuba • Florida • Herman Cain
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. dennis freeman

    Sounds like he still still has stuff twirling around in his head from that Milwaukee paper interview – loose screws.

    November 17, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Roberto Bear wrote:

    I am a Mexican-American and consider myself fluenent is Spanish. I work with several Cubans, and I can say their dialect is completely different from mine.
    I understand what is being poorly stated here. I learned to speak fluent Spanish over the course of 6 years. I had only 3 instructors over that time frame. Two were women from Spain, and the third was a gay man from Puerto Rico. I have difficulty understanding the accents and regional slang used throughout South America.

    Let me give an example to you. Suppose you learn English as a foreign language, but your instructors came exclusively from England or Australia. Armed with your command of the English language, you visit the southern United States, say Atlanta, Georgia, and discover that you cannot understand a single word that they are saying. A misunderstanding causes you to get arrested, you ask for a barrister, and they collectively say to you, "HuH? What is a barrister?"

    November 17, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Dan J

    I'm not a fan of Herman Cain, but Obama once assumed there was an Austrian language. At least there's a Cuban dialect. There are a lot of things not to like about Herman Cain, but this simply shouldn't be one of them. If the media looks hard enough to make a candidate look stupid, they can. Even if that candidate is a rocket scientist.

    November 17, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. qubee

    This just in........... Herman says that when he's elected POTUS, he's going to finish the job of going after Gaddafi. He says, it's never too late in matters like this. Hear these news accounts n the one's: Jan 1, Feb 1, March 1........................

    November 17, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. Thomas

    What about the real issue , trade policy with Cuba ?

    Since Israel and China are doing business in Cuba , why isn't America ?

    Over 50 % of Cuban Americans think it's time to change policy that was enacted during the Soviet era .

    November 17, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. edpeters101

    I don't get it. It's OK for Cubans to be illegal in the US, but not Latinos? Welcome the new Bum of the Month leader...

    November 17, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. billy

    How do you say Not Ready for Office in Cuban?

    November 17, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. Pig in a poke

    Ah, I see Ashley is playing destroy the black man today.
    If you cannot name all those 200 leaders and their contries then you should not expect a presidential candiate to either.

    November 17, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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