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Cain's Milwaukee Meltdown: Will Koch Still Love His 'Brother From Another Mother'?

It wasn't just Libya policy that left Cain tongue-tied before the Journal Sentinel ed board: He didn't want to talk about the Koch-linked Prosperity 101 program.

Herman Cain is a man who knows what he knows, and apparently doesn't care to know anything else. Then there's the stuff he does know, but is just not gonna tell you.

In a contentious meeting with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday, the GOP presidential hopeful not only notably stumbled painfully on questions about his policy toward Libya; he also appeared to accidentally stagger into a reversal of his previously stated policy in favor of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's revocation of the collective bargaining rights of public employees. And when asked if he gained financially from a workplace indoctrination program linked to the billionaire right-wing donor David Koch (a story AlterNet broke last summer), Cain grew visibly irritated while insisting he had not.

When asked for his assessment of President Barack Obama's handling of the revolution in Libya, Cain appeared to draw a blank, telling the editorial board, "I've got all of this stuff twirling around in my head." He went on to put together a barely coherent answer, saying, "I would have done a better job of determining who the opposition is."

Campaign reporters then had their meat, and the Libya piece of the interview became the story of the day. But for Herman Cain, his answer on Libya was likely the least of the pointed questions posed by reporter Daniel Bice that could spell doom for Cain. For in the course of that disastrous meeting, Cain dissed the agenda of David Koch, to whom Cain has strong ties, and gave evasive and irritable answers to questions of potential wrongdoing by his campaign and Cain's own role in a workplace "education" program linked to Koch called Prosperity 101.

Qu'est-ce Que C'estThis Collective Bargaining?

The war on the collective bargaining rights of public employees became a fury earlier this year when Walker, elected with the help of Koch's Americans for Prosperity, rammed through a bill that greatly curtailed those rights. Union members and their allies occupied the state capitol building for 18 days in what has become known as the Wisconsin Uprising. Organizing right-wing ground troops in favor of Walker's anti-worker bill was Mark Block, then director of the Americans for Prosperity Wisconsin chapter, and now Cain's campaign manager. And Cain himself worked with Block to build the national organization in its early days, and went on to be a regularly featured speaker at events sponsored by both Americans for Prosperity and its sibling organization, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

In an interview last month with the Journal Sentinel's Craig Gilbert, Cain said he was "right in the corner of Gov. Scott Walker, 100 percent," with regard to the anti-worker legislation. But in the meeting with the editorial board, he seemed unclear about just what collective bargaining is, saying he was for it unless it placed "an undue burden on the taxpayer," a position that would seem to be something shy of 100 percent of Walker's -- and David Koch's.

Secret Independent Counsel for Campaign Hijinks

In a video of his editorial board appearance (on the last page of this story), Cain stonewalled when asked about questions raised by the Journal Sentinel's reporting about the financing of his campaign.

On the same day Politico broke the news about accusations of sexual harassment against Cain, the Journal Sentinel's Daniel Bice broke an explosive story of his own: In conflict with campaign finance law, the Cain campaign appeared to have used a nonprofit organization, Prosperity USA, to pay some $40,000 in campaign expenses.

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