Huckabee on the NIE: Huh?

More than a day after news broke on Iran, a leading GOP candidate still hadn't heard.


Tim Grieve
December 5, 2007 6:10PM (UTC)

We know that it's tough out there on the campaign trail -- the constant repetition of stump speeches, the endless days of bus travel, the threat of catching a virus from Candy Crowley -- but is it really possible that Mike Huckabee didn't hear of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran until sometime Tuesday night?

Apparently so.

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The new NIE was all over the news Monday afternoon. By Tuesday morning, it was on the front page of newspapers all around the country. The president held a press conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the NIE, and the NIE was the centerpiece of the NPR Democratic presidential debate held Tuesday afternoon.

But when Huckabee -- who hasn't exactly shown himself to be an expert on foreign policy -- sat down for dinner with reporters in Iowa Tuesday night, it quickly became clear that the former governor of Arkansas wasn't exactly in the loop.

The transcript, from the Politico:

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The Politico's David Paul Kuhn: I don't know to what extent you have been briefed or been able to take a look at the NIE report that came out yesterday ...

Huckabee: I'm sorry?

Kuhn: The NIE report, the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. Have you been briefed or been able to take a look at it?

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Huckabee: No.

Kuhn: Have you heard of the finding?

Huckabee: No.

Kuhn clued Huckabee in on the report's key finding -- a high degree of confidence that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 -- then asked him if he thought, in light of the misrepresentations about Iraq, the United States has a "higher burden of proof" when it comes to persuading the international community of the need to take action against Iran.

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"Probably so," Huckabee said, then added: "First time I've been asked a question like that."


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections Iran Middle East Mike Huckabee War Room

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