Cain Invents a Cover Story for His Nuclear Blunder

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Ah. I see that Herman Cain has revised and expanded his remarks the other day about the nature of China’s nuclear arsenal:

Maybe I misspoke. What I meant was China does not have the size of the nuclear capability that we have. They do have a nuclear capability. I was talking about their total nuclear capability. So that’s what I meant by that.

Roger that. This is why I’m annoyed at Judy Woodruff for not following up on Cain’s original statement in her interview on Monday. She didn’t have to be confrontational about it. Just a flat, non-leading followup would have been fine. Something like this:

What exactly do you mean when you say China is “trying to develop” nuclear capability?

At that point, Cain either says something that makes it clear he knows China has nukes and he’s actually talking about something else, or else Cain says something along the lines of “Well, I’ve seen reports in the news media that China would like to develop nuclear weapons, and that’s something we can’t allow.”

Instead, she did nothing, and that gave Cain plenty of time to invent a cover story and then retail it to a friendly interviewer. What a wasted opportunity.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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