U.S. presidential hopeful Herman Cain believes the Taliban is involved in the new Libyan government, the candidate indicated Friday.
During a press conference in Orlando, Fla., Cain defended his earlier comments on Libya, the ones made when he was interviewed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Those videotaped comments went viral online and on cable TV almost immediately.
In the Journal Sentinel interview, Cain hesitated when asked whether he had agreed with President Barack Obama's decision to back Libyan rebels in the overthrowing of Moammar Gadhafi.I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason, said Cain.
Uh, nope that's, that's a different one, said the candidate for the Republican Party presidential nomination. See, I got to go back, see, got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me, did I agree or not disagree with Obama?
Cain insisted that he had tried to get the reporter to narrow the question about whether he had agreed with the Obama administration's handling of the Libyan revolution. It was in these comments that he said the Afghanistan- and Pakistan-based Taliban might be involved in the new Libyan government.
Do I agree with siding with the opposition? Do I agree with saying that [Libyan leader] Gadhafi should go? Do I agree that they now have a country where you've got Taliban and al-Qaida that's going to be part of the government? Cain asked reporters in Orlando. Do I agree with not knowing the government was going to -- which part was he asking me about? I was trying to get him to be specific, and he wouldn't be specific.
Later, Cain representative J.D. Gordon pointed to Libyan military commander Abdel Hakim Belhaj as a sometime Taliban ally. Belhadj, who was with the Taliban in Afghanistan, was captured and sent to Libya in 2004, where he had been jailed until last year.