Nightly News | November 14, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now to the presidential campaign trail. Republican contender Herman Cain took a stumble on camera when asked about Libya by the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel . NBC 's Kelly O'Donnell has that story.
Unidentified Woman #1: Good luck, Mr. Cain !
Unidentified Woman #2: Good luck, Mr. Cain !
KELLY O'DONNELL reporting: Tonight Herman Cain 's campaign has a new challenge. Not the allegations of sexual harassment that he fiercely denies, but the way Cain handled a very basic question on Libya during a meeting with editors at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel .
Unidentified Man: So you agreed with President Obama on Libya or not?
Mr. HERMAN CAIN: OK. Libya . President Obama supported the uprising, correct?
O'DONNELL: Cain had just taken part in a debate on foreign policy Saturday night, but today gave a halting, uneasy response.
Mr. CAIN: I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason. No, that's a different one.
O'DONNELL: The newspaper says it was Cain who offered to drop by for 30 minutes this morning between fundraisers. The editorial board released a five-minute clip.
Mr. CAIN: Got to go back and see. Got all this stuff twirling around in my head.
O'DONNELL: Later, Cain appeared to regain his footing and explained that he would have handled the crisis in Libya differently than President Obama .
Mr. CAIN: I would have done a better job of determining who the opposition is. And I 'm sure that our intelligence people had that -- had some of that information.
O'DONNELL: Today the campaign had expected a different interview to get all the attention. Cain 's wife, Gloria , spoke out for the first time , appearing on Fox News . She defended her husband of 43 years against those sexual harassment claims made by three women, including Sharon Bialek who went public last week.
Ms. GLORIA CAIN: I looked at especially this last lady and the things that she said. And I 'm thinking, he would have to have a split personality to do the things that she said.
O'DONNELL: Tonight advisers say Cain was working on four hours sleep. They believe the video was taken out of context because he fielded questions on a range of subjects for 30 to 40 minutes. And they claim he didn't say anything wrong. But they do acknowledge that it took him a while to gain his bearings.
Brian: Kelly O'Donnell in our DC newsroom tonight. Kelly , thanks. Cain , we should point out, was already in the news today for comments in another print interview saying a majority of American Muslims share extremist views. You can see the raw video from today's story on our website tonight, nbcnightlynews.com.