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Herman Cain Laughs Off ‘Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan’ Gaffe, Blames Belafonte And ‘Colonel’ West

GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain defended his decidedly unserious approach to foreign policy issues on Fox News last night. Host Sean Hannity asked about his botched foreign policy answer this weekend, but Cain dodged and somehow blamed liberal commentators Harry Belafonte and Princeton professor Cornel West for attacking him because “they don’t want black people to think for themselves.”

Hannity referenced a friendly interview this weekend with the religious right Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) where Cain was asked about the president of Uzbekistan, to which he said: “When they ask me, who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan? I’m going to say, you know, I don’t know.” Cain laughed off Hannity’s question and implied Belafonte and West — whom he initially called “Colonel” — are just trying to suppress his popularity among black voters. Here’s the exchange:

HANNITY: My good friend David Brody had an interview with you on CBN at the Value Voter Summit in which you got a tremendous response. You keep winning these straw polls.

Your numbers are going through the roof and continue to. And he said are you ready for all the gotcha questions? Who is the president of Pakistan [SIC], et cetera, and you had a pretty funny answer.

CAIN: Heh heh heh heh. Yes, you know, ever since that Florida straw poll, there’s been a big bulls-eye on my back. It’s coming from Harry Belafonte, it’s coming from Colonel — you know, from Professor West, it’s coming from anybody who do not like the fact that I, as an American black conservative, am in a position to be able to speak my mind and tell the truth and wake people up.

They don’t want a lot of people to wake up, especially black people. I’ve also said, Sean, which also received some criticism, that a large percentage of American black people are thinking for themselves. That’s the good news.

But people like Harry Belafonte, Professor West, and others who attack me, they don’t want black people to think for themselves. And this is why they are so upset with Herman Cain, who is now moving up into the top tier for the Republican presidential nomination, and that people are listening to me.

They don’t want me to wake people up and get them to read the fine print and think for themselves.

Watch the video:

It’s not clear where exactly in the “fine print” it says that it’s okay for Cain to, as ThinkProgress’s Matt Yglesias put it, go about running a presidential campaign “without him taking the process seriously at all.” But Cain is nonetheless managing a surge in the polls, all the while deflecting his own ignorance by pointing to attacks from other commentators supposedly trying to keep black America down.

Cain’s been exchanging jabs with Belafonte and West for a couple days now over Cain’s comments that he doesn’t think racism “holds anybody back in a big way today.

At least Cain didn’t try to answer Hannity’s question about the leader of Pakistan (an apparent case of the Fox Host confusing Uzbekistan with Pakistan). As we learned this weekend, Cain won’t figure out the leaders of foreign countries until he’s getting ready to get on a plane to visit them.