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Herman Cain Admits He Was Stumped By “Right of Return” Question But Claims To Now Know All About The Issue

Reported by Ellen - May 23, 2011 -

Who couldn’t have predicted that presidential candidate Herman Cain would be on Hannity tonight for a dose of Fox News Republican rehab in the wake of his embarrassing deer-in-the-headlights moment on Fox News Sunday the day before - when he obviously didn’t know what host Chris Wallace meant by Palestinians’ “right of return?” As Think Progress pointed out, the gaffe wasn’t only in the revelation of Cain’s ignorance but that he had just held himself up as a big Israel supporter and attacked President Obama for throwing Israel “under the bus” in his recent Middle East speech. Cain issued a “clarification” last night that seemed like an attempt to walk back his remarks and at the same time give the impression he knew what he was talking about all along. But tonight on Hannity, Cain admitted he was not prepared for the question. Cain told Hannity, “The thing that you gonna learn about Herman Cain, if he doesn’t know something, he’s not going to try and fake it or give an answer that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Well, except when he does.

Sean Hannity spent the first three minutes of the segment hyping Cain’s business chops and “asking” him to explain why he thinks a “lack of political experience is a plus.” Finally, Hannity replayed the segment on Fox News Sunday.

“A lot of people think you didn’t understand the ‘right of return,’” Hannity said.

“They are exactly right, Sean,” Cain answered without hesitation. “Chris caught me off guard. I didn’t understand the right of return. That came out of left field. And of all the questions that I anticipated him asking me, I didn’t even conceive of him asking me about ‘the right of return.’ I now know what that is.”

“The thing that you gonna learn about Herman Cain, if he doesn’t know something, he’s not going to try and fake it or give an answer that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Cain went on to say, “Now here’s the thing that I have learned about the right of return since Sunday. It wasn’t that they were kicked out of Israels by the Jews, no. Their Arab leaders asked them to leave… So yes, I still stick by my answer – it is the responsibility and the decision to be made by Israel.”

Hannity asked if Cain had gone over the U.N. partition plan in 1948, the 6-Day War, the Yom Kippur war and before Cain could say more than “Yes,” added, “and you think the return to (19)67 borders is?”

Cain, not surprisingly reiterated that he thought the matter should be Israel’s decision.

Well, the thing we really learned about Herman Cain is that he’s a knee-jerk pro-Israel supporter willing to attack President Obama’s Middle East policy without knowing what he’s talking about.

Before he asked about right of return, Wallace noted that Cain had accused Obama of throwing Israel “under the bus” with his suggestion that Israel return to 1967 borders. Cain reiterated that stance, saying he’d offer nothing to the Palestinians “to make peace.” And yet, when asked about the right of return, Cain said, “That’s something that should be negotiated.” He also said, “Yes, they (Palestinians) should have a right to come back, if that is a decision that Israel wants to make.”

If Cain knew anything about Israel’s policies, he’d have known that that’s a decision Israel has already made – against the right of return. So, the Cain campaign issued a statement last night trying to walk back and recast his answer to make it look as though Cain knew what he was talking about. (H/T Think Progress)

All Israeli governments have rejected the "right" of large numbers of Arabs or Palestinians to return to what is now the state of Israel. Such an en masse return would unbalance Israel's demographic makeup as the world's sole Jewish state.

In this light, should the "right of return" "be negotiated," as I said, "if that is a decision that Israel wants to make"? Certainly, and to reiterate, it's Israel's call. Israel has a long record of being more gracious to its enemies than its enemies are to it, and this would be yet another example of that. But is the "right of return" a moral imperative? Is it something Israel must grant? Is it something the United States ought to encourage?

The answer is no on every count.

Now on Hannity, Cain was arguing that he originally knew nothing about a long-standing key point of contention between Israel and Palestine but 24 hours later had gotten up to speed on the whole thing.

Not surprisingly, none of these contradictions were explored by Hannity.

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