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. Auzzie

    "How do you say delicious in CUBAN???"

    C'mon Republicans, you cannot seriously support this guy

    November 17, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. v_mag

    Cain clearly prefers the "foot in mouth" policy. (Well, somebody had to say it.)

    November 17, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. AEK

    Speaking Cuban? Really? Of course Vice President Dan Quayle once said that since he had taken Latin In high school he could be valuable as a United States representative in relations with Latin American countries! You know that whole smart politician thing is so over rated...George Bush, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and on and on. I'll take an intelligent, well-educated Democrat anytime!

    November 17, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  4. M. Arroyo

    I usually don't criticize people with low levels of cultural literacy as I tend to be gracious to those who have not had the opportunity to travel outside their country; however, my sympathy does not extend to presidential candidates as these, more than any other citizen, should be aware of international policy in order to guide a country in the right direction

    November 17, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. Jamie

    I think we can all accept on face value by now that Herman Cain is not personally knowledgeable about anything to do with foreign policy and only knows a limited amount about the economy. We should move beyond the "heroic CEO" model of thinking about our president and look for strength of character, the willingness to surround him or herself with smart people, the ability to weigh arguments, the inclination to make decisions, and the fortitude to admit mistakes.

    Each of these traits is important; together, they make for a very strong leader. Herman Cain may or may not have these abilities. But they are what matters, and not how many different ways reporters can laugh about Cain having less a a Google-lookup concept of fact recitation than they do. It's simply not necessary for someone in charge to have or pretend to have all of the information that a good leader would have someone else fact-check and verify anyway.

    November 17, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Roger

    No answer Cain continuing to exhibit his ignorance.

    November 17, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. General Davis

    Actually, AEK, Dan Quayle never said that. It was a joke. Even Quayle wasn't that stupid. Cain is, though. He definitely is one of the most uniformed candidates since Palin.

    November 17, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. Mark

    Gee, Obama thinks there are "57" states, America is a Muslim country and they have added many benefits for us, and his wife said; for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of America. How come you don't report this? All of Obama's gaffs were swept under the rug. Great reporting main-stream-media, NOT!
    Mark in BC NV

    November 17, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. shugee

    How do you say goofy in american?

    November 17, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. SoSad

    Cain, God is calling you home, listen, listen, listen. Perry who? Bachman who? Sanitoriun who?

    Vote for Ron Paul, he does not wear Magic Pants...........................

    November 17, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Sniffit

    ""How do you say delicious in CUBAN???"

    C'mon Republicans, you cannot seriously support this guy"
    -- think they have any judgment whatsoever....hahahahaha

    November 17, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    How do you say "Cain" in Cuban? "Bobo"

    November 17, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. SPARKY

    maybe he should have studied where in the world is carmen sandiego instead of putting all his eggs in the sim city basket...

    November 17, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. NY-Veteran

    Mark: You've forgotten one big thing about Obama. He is a Lawyer, a Professor so his wife. Well educated black Americans. What is your qualification?

    Myself, I am a graduated black Naturalized American Citizen, I have served this Country over 22 years of Military service and now retired veteran. What have you done for this country?

    November 17, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |

    By the sheer tonage of what Cain does not know, he obviously hasn't read a newspaper in 40 years. This guy is even more of a joke than Perry, which I didn't think was possible. Judging from the support he still has reveals the low IQ of a good portion of republican party. Sad, very, very sad.

    November 17, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Fair is Fair

    Cain must be taking pointers from Obama, who of course is famous for thinking they speak Austrian in Austria.

    November 17, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. yuri

    Cain's pains are growing by leaps and bounds. On wonders if he will survive to live and tell us his gory story of moronic marauding into the run for office.

    November 17, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Jamie wrote:
    It's simply not necessary for someone in charge to have or pretend to have all of the information that a good leader would have someone else fact-check and verify anyway.
    I see. But, when Barack Obama is accused (unjustly and inaccuately so) of not knowing something, it is an impeachable offense and that he's undeserving of re-election.

    November 17, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Cain isn't ready. He doesn't know enough about the country as a whole. He just sees the economic problem. That isn't enough for a future president to be focusing on that alone. He'll fail if that happens. As my father says, "No matter how many experts you hire, there is no substitue for knowing what is going on yourself."

    @v_mag - I like that one. He will be doing that more and more I am sure.

    November 17, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Roberto Bear

    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. We have to ask each other all the time what did you say or what did you mean. so to criticize Mr Cain over that is ridiculous. We here at work use the phrase How do you say that in Cuban?

    November 17, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "How come you don't report this? All of Obama's gaffs were swept under the rug."

    Said like someone truly incapable of using Google to check whether what they are saying is in any way, shape or form even remotely accurate.

    If you missed the hullaballoo made of those gaffes when they occurred, you were either in a coma or born yesterday.

    November 17, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. TxPb

    @Roberto Bear
    It not "how do you say it in Cuban", it is HOW DOES A CUBAN SAY IT!! or How do you say this in Cuba.
    (I am a Mexi-Rican American).

    November 17, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. miked

    @Roberto Bear:

    That is a ridiculous comment. I speak English, Spanish AND Portuguese. But I know the difference between a dialect and a language. What you are referring to is a DIALECT. Many people in England speak english with a pronounced cockney accent. I can't understand a word of it, yet it's still English. My friends from France can't understand Hatian French, which is also a DIALECT.
    What Mr. Cain said was plain ignorant. Cuban Spanish (castellano, actually) is a version of Spanish, but not its own language as cain insinuated. The man is just not ready for prime time. Plain and simple.

    November 17, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. d

    Picky, picky, picky....a story about how to say something in "Cuban?" Puh-LEEZE!
    Even in the US, where the (un)official is English, you say things differently in different areas- for example, "soda" in one place means carbonated water, somewhere else it's a soft drink. "Chips" in England is the same as "french fries" in the US. So if I spoke a language other than English, and I wanted to ask how to say fried potatoes, just asking how to say it in English wouldn't necessarily give me the right answer- I would have to ask how to say it in British or American English. Many expressions are different in the various Spanish speaking countries as well.

    November 17, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. A True Centrist

    "I've now been in 57 states—I think one left to go" – Obama on the campaign trail

    “I don’t know what the term is in Austrian” – Obama when speaking abroad

    Signed the Westminster Abbey visitor log May 24, 2008 when it was 2011 – Obama

    I don't like either of these gentlemen but when every word you say is recorded, you may sometimes look foolish.

    November 17, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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