Herman Cain struggles to recall details of Libya conflict

"Got all this stuff twirling around in my head," says Republican presidential hopeful.

 

 

Hot on the heels of Rick Perry's "Oops" moment (when he couldn't recall the name of the third government agency he was going to axe), Herman Cain has provided his very own YouTube hit, apparently struggling to recall what took place in Libya.

Asked by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel whether he agreed with President Obama's actions in Libya, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO looked at the ceiling, shut his eyes and said "Okay, Libya," before closing his eyes for 11 seconds. After double checking with the interviewer whether Obama supported the removal of Muammar Gaddafi, he said that he disagreed with the way it was handled -- but then stopped himself, saying "No, that's a different one."

Jerry Gordon, Cain's spokesman, has defended his candidate, saying: "The video is being taken out of context. He was taking questions for about 30 to 40 minutes on four hours of sleep." But this is a poor excuse for someone hoping to be president of America.

Cain's inability to answer a direct, simple question about foreign policy has stunned many pundits. After his gaffe, Perry's poll count dropped even lower, to around 4 per cent. Cain -- already battling sexual harassment allegations -- will be hoping he does not see a similar effect.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Listen up, Enda Kenny: why two Irish women are livetweeting their trip for an abortion

With abortion illegal in the Republic of Ireland, many women must travel to Britain to obtain the procedure. One woman, and her friend, are documenting the journey.

An Irish woman and her friend are live-tweeting their journey to Manchester to procure an abortion.

Using the handle @twowomentravel, the pair are documenting each stage of their trip online, from an early flight to the clinic waiting room. Each tweet includes the handle @endakennyTD, tagging in the Taoiseach.

The 8th amendment of the Irish constitution criminalises abortion in the Republic of Ireland, including in cases of rape. Women who wish to access the procedure must either do so illegally – using, for instance, pills acquired online or by post – or travel to a country where abortion is legal.

As the 1967 Abortion Act is not in place in Northern Ireland, Irish women often travel to the UK mainland, especially if seeking a surgical abortion. Figures show that in 2014, an average of ten women a day made the trip. The same year, 1017 abortion pills were seized by Irish customs.

Women who undertake the journey do so at a substantial cost. Aside from the cost of travel, they must pay for the procedure itself: a private abortion in England can cost over £500, and Irish women, including those born and resident in Northern Ireland, are not eligible for NHS treatment. Overnight accommodation may also need to be arranged.

The earlier an abortion is obtained, the easier the procedure. Yet many women are forced to delay while they obtain funds, or borrow money to pay for the trip. 

Women’s charity and abortion providers Marie Stopes provide specific advice for the flight back which reveals the increased health risks Irish women are exposed to. The stigma surrounding termination may also dissuade women from seeking help if complications arise once they have arrived home.

Abortion is a relatively minor procedure in medical terms. A recent survey quoted in Time magazine suggests that 95% of women who have had an abortion say they do not regret it.

It is not surprising, then, that calls to repeal the 8th amendment are increasing in volume. Campaigns like the Artists’ Campaign to Repeal the 8th (to which this author is a signatory) as well as the Abortion Rights Campaign and REPEAL have mobilised to lobby for a change in the law, and in some cases help fund women forced to travel.

Women’s testimony is an important part of campaigning. Abortion is stigmatised across these isles, but the criminal aspect in Ireland makes the experience of abortion particularly difficult to discuss. Actions like @twowomentravel and groups such as the X-ile Project, which photographs women who have had the procedure, help to normalise abortion, showing a part of life often hidden from view (but which plenty of women experience).

The hope is that Irish women will soon be able to access abortions which are like those available to women in England: free, safe, and legal.

The Abortion Support Network help pay for women from the island of Ireland access abortion. Their fundraising page is here.

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland