US & Canada

Herman Cain interview stumble 'due to lack of sleep'

Herman Cain 12 November 2011
Image caption New opinion polls suggest the allegations against Herman Cain could be taking their toll

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's campaign says he had not slept enough when he stumbled on an interview question about Libya.

Mr Cain appeared confused as he discussed President Barack Obama's policy on Libya in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

He said he had "all this stuff twirling around in my head".

The clip has been compared with Texas Governor Rick Perry's memory lapse last week in a televised debate.

Mr Cain dismissed the stumble, saying: "I paused so I could gather my thoughts."

His spokesman, JD Gordon, explained that Mr Cain had only had four hours of sleep because of his busy campaign schedule.

The Georgia businessman was asked on Monday whether he agreed with President Obama's decision to back Libyan rebels in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi.

"I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason," Mr Cain said during the interview, which was videotaped.

"Uh, nope that's, that's a different one," he said, fidgeting in his chair.

"See, I got to go back, see, got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically what are you asking me, did I agree or not disagree with Obama?"

Mr Cain's interview has gone viral, as did Governor Perry's inability in a live TV debate last week to recall all three federal agencies he would eliminate.

Also on Monday, the ex-boyfriend of a woman who accuses Mr Cain of sexual harassment made a public statement to corroborate her story.

Sharon Bialek is one of four women alleging inappropriate behaviour from Mr Cain but the only woman who has gone public with her accusation.

Mr Cain has denied all the allegations and said he never met Ms Bialek.