From CBS NEWS:
Herman Cain suggested Friday that the Taliban were playing a role in Libya’s new government. The comment initially was seen as another foreign policy misstep from the Republican presidential candidate, but aides later pointed to a one-time Libyan rebel leader who fought in Afghanistan to back up Cain’s claims.
Cain has spent the week trying to calm jitters about his foreign policy after he struggled to answer whether he supported President Barack Obama’s approach to Libya. He ended the week trying to blame reporters for the moment, which was captured on video and quickly spread around the Internet.
Cain’s critics seized on Monday’s incoherent answer as the latest evidence that the former pizza executive is unprepared to be the GOP’s nominee.
On Monday, Cain hesitated when asked whether he agreed with Obama’s decision to back Libyan rebels in overthrowing Qaddafi. The longtime Libyan dictator was killed last month.
“I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason,” Cain said in the videotaped interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“Uh, nope that’s, that’s a different one,” said Cain, who fidgeted in his chair and crossed his legs.
The video ricocheted around the Internet. Two days later, he skipped a similar meeting with reporters at the New Hampshire Union Leader, the largest paper in the state that holds the first primary contest.
Cain’s campaign hoped to prevent a repeat to end the week after the candidate’s comments about the Taliban and pointed to Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, a rebel leader who fled to Afghanistan after a failed uprising against Qaddafi in the 1990s. At that point, he led the now-dissolved Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
One U.S. official familiar with the group said it was not a monolithic entity and some branches have had connections with al Qaeda in Sudan, Afghanistan or Pakistan. Others, however, dropped any relationship with al Qaeda entirely. Belhaj led a faction that disavowed al Qaeda and declared its commitment to establishing a democracy in Libya, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.
There is no evidence the Taliban are returning to power in Libya […]