Cain: "Irresponsible" for Bush to set Iraq date

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain on "Face the Nation" Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. CBS

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said Sunday it was "irresponsible" for former President George W. Bush to set a withdrawal date from Iraq, and that President Obama should have re-evaluated that date upon taking office.

Cain, in an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," said that a "responsible Commander in Chief" would have consulted military commanders on the ground and asked, "Should we continue with this or should we modify it?"

"Look, President Obama changed a lot of other things that Bush started, so I don't believe that he's doing it because it was in the Bush doctrine," he said, of Mr. Obama's recent announcement of a full Iraq withdrawal by the end of 2011.

Cain said he thought the drawdown would leave a "power vacuum" in Iraq.

Still, when pressed, Cain conceded that "It was irresponsible for George Bush to set a date certain" in the first place.

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"Face the Nation" transcript: October 30, 2011

"I believe that the Commander in Chief, if you have a new President, must re-evaluate the situation, and the biggest thing that I would do differently is listen to the commanders on the ground," he said. "I'm not convinced that the commanders on the ground agree with that strategy."

Cain said he thought America's most pressing foreign policy concern was a "lack of clarity relative to our relationship with other countries around the world."

"Let's take Afghanistan," he said. "Twelve Americans were killed last week. And then just a few days earlier, the president said that if America gets into a fight or some sort of war with Pakistan, that Afghanistan is going to side with Pakistan."

He added: "That lacks clarity, Bob. And if you take every relationship we have in the world, it lacks clarity."

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