Huckabee Unaware of Iran Report

Huckabee Unaware of Iran Report The most interesting campaign news this morning is a report from The Politico‘s Jonathan Martin that surging GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was totally unaware of a new National Intelligence Estimate finding that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program four years ago.

Kuhn: I don’t know to what extent you have been briefed or been able to take a look at the NIE report that came out yesterday …

Huckabee: I’m sorry?

Kuhn: The NIE report, the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. Have you been briefed or been able to take a look at it —

Huckabee: No.

Kuhn: Have you heard of the finding?

Huckabee: No.

This allegedly happened at a dinner last night, more than 24 hours after the report made international headlines.

Romney booster Hugh Hewitt labels the incident “a pretty astonishing admission of cluelessness on the part of Governor Huckabee.”

Perhaps. My instinct is that NRO’s Byron York is closer to the mark:

Beyond doing nothing to resolve doubts about his foreign policy qualifications, the exchange underscores the fact that Huckabee doesn’t really have much of a campaign, in the sense that Giuliani and Romney have campaigns, with teams of advisers and carefully-thought-out policy positions. In important ways, he has been flying by the seat of his pants, relying on his unequaled talents as a retail campaigner. But now that he is leading in Iowa, and moving up nationally as well, the deficiencies of his campaign might come more and more into the spotlight.

My guess is that Huckabee isn’t particularly interested in foreign policy. That’s a liability in a president, one would think, but a rather common one, especially at this early stage in the game.

Certainly, you’d think he’d have been briefed on the most important news of the day — especially something of this magnitude. Or, hell, read a newspaper or caught the report on NPR while shaving. But the reality of the type of retail politics that is necessary to win in Iowa and New Hampshire is long days going from pancake breakfast to coffee club to fundraiser to Rotary Club to luncheon and so on. Most of these guys are lucky to remember what state they’re in at the moment without handlers reminding them.

Story via Memeorandum. Image via Neal Jones/CoMITTed to Romney via Google Images.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Christopher says:

    James, u get all your news from NPR?!?

  2. Wayne says:

    The MSM twisted and warp what the NIE report actually said, so catching it on NPR while shaving would have given Huck the wrong information. Many have issue with the NIE shifting their reports 180 in the past without any new information.

    Would it be nice for a Presidential nominee to be up on everything? Yes but impossible. The NIE report was so important why? Because the MSM said so. I want a president who sets the priority and not be dictated to by the Press.

    I believe the character and abilities to get things done are more important for a President than being able to answer gotcha questions.

  3. laura says:

    Well, on the subject of character: Huckabee freed a convicted rapist. He did so because a band of rightwing extremist loons had convinced themselves that the rapist must be innocent because he was accused of raping a relative of Clinton’s. Huckabee got letters from the victims of the rapist begging him not to go through with the release. He ignored the victims, freed the rapist, and the rapist raped and murdered a woman.

    The mother of the last victim is understandably furious that Huckabee’s excuse is that he didn’t know the rapist was dangerous.

    But I suppose in Bizarro land the rapist is still the innocent victim of the Clintons and it is all a media conspiracy.

  4. Wayne says:

    Actually Huckabee didn’t free Wayne DuMond.

    link link

    It did sound like he was considering it at one time and may have tried to influence the parole board decision. However without hindsight the case was not that cut and dry.


    A life sentence seems to be highly unusual for a first time rape conviction. Admittedly that first time conviction is an assumption but I would expect any other conviction to be reported.

    If Dumond had a long violent rap sheet then it would a bad reflection on Huckabee, otherwise it is gotcha politics. Any parole system has many parolees who commit further crimes.

    At least this time I am not defending Hillary. I hate it when I do that.

  5. Wayne says:

    Now Huck’s number of clemency and stance on Guantanamo Bay is a concern for me.