Huckabee Unaware of Iran Report
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 —
Kuhn: Have you heard of the finding?
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.