AMES, Iowa -- Herman Cain on Saturday became the latest Republican presidential hopeful to blast President Obama's Iraq policy, predicting that the withdrawal of U.S. troops is "gonna leave a big vacuum" that Iran will fill.
"I happen to think that Iran is just sitting back and waiting for us to leave and then they're going to go back in and they're going to try to control the whole country," Cain said. He also criticized the president's decision to announce that U.S. troops will be home by Christmas.
"I can't for the life of me understand why you'd tell the enemy what you're going to do and when you're going to do it," he said. "That's just not common sense, I'm sorry."
The pizza magnate made his remarks at his second football game of a busy campaign Saturday in Iowa, the state that will cast the first votes of the 2012 presidential contest on Jan. 3. At the homecoming game of Iowa State University, earlier in the day, Cain showed up decked in red-and-yellow Cyclones gear. By the time he arrived here, he was in the regalia of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.
Cain said he's not surprised by his recent surge in the polls here. "I started coming to Iowa last fall," he said. "And I think the fact we are leading in the polls in Iowa shows that when people get on the Cain train, they don't get off."
On Saturday, Cain emerged as the surprise victor of a straw poll conducted by the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, where he and a number of his GOP rivals spoke earlier this week.