The Corner

NIE? What NIE?

The Politico’s David Paul Kuhn was among a group of reporters who had dinner with Mike Huckabee in Iowa tonight. According to a transcript posted by Jonathan Martin, Kuhn asked Huckabee about the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, and it was news to Huckabee:

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 —

Huckabee: No.

Kuhn: Have you heard of the finding?

Huckabee: No.

After Kuhn explained the NIE’s findings to Huckabee, Huckabee seemed confused about what it meant. Beyond doing nothing to resolve doubts about his foreign policy qualifications, the exchange underscores the fact that Huckabee doesn’t really have much of a campaign, in the sense that Giuliani and Romney have campaigns, with teams of advisers and carefully-thought-out policy positions. In important ways, he has been flying by the seat of his pants, relying on his unequaled talents as a retail campaigner. But now that he is leading in Iowa, and moving up nationally as well, the deficiencies of his campaign might come more and more into the spotlight.

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