Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson asks "What is Aleppo?" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson asks "What is Aleppo?"

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(KWWL) -

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate, made headlines when he said he didn't know what Aleppo is. 

Asked on Thursday's "Morning Joe" what he would do if elected president about the city in Syria at the center of the refugee crisis, Johnson earnestly asked: "What is Aleppo?"

"You're kidding me," responded Mike Barnicle, who had asked the question, and then began to explain what Aleppo is to the candidate.

"OK, got it, got it," Johnson said, cutting him off. He added: "With regard to Syria I do think it's a mess. mess. I think that the only way that we deal with Syria is to join hands with Russia to diplomatically bring that at an end."

"It's just a mess," he said.

Before the moment made headlines, many were only familiar with presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. 

Johnson is the former governor of New Mexico, who's been pulling numbers in recent polls. 

Many say the question that stumped Johnson was a basic foreign policy question, one that a candidate running for office should know. 

"To not know what that is and to be completely draw a blank on it, I think, you know, undermines a lot of his campaign," said KWWL Political Analyst Chris Larimer.

Aleppo is the largest city in war-torn Syria that has been in headlines for months. 

Just last month, an image from Aleppo went viral. The heart-wrenching image showed 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh pulled from the rubble of his home that was bombed in Aleppo. 

"I think what he said and the way he handled that question is devastating for his campaign," said Lairmer. "Because it shows complete lack of knowledge about foreign policy when you don't know or recognize certainly the largest-one of the largest humanitarian crises ongoing right now."

Johnson responded online, "I'm human, I blanked. It happens."

In a later interview, Johnson said  "No excuse, I was thinking in terms of acronym Aleppo."

Johnson supporters say his "slip-up" is being blown out of proportion.

"I watch the news and I don't see the city's name come up a lot," said Johnson's Iowa Campaign Director James Schneider. "And Syria's in there everyday. I mean Gary is speaking about Syria every single day. That was a slip-up at 5 o'clock in the morning."

Johnson did add that if you're running for president, everything is fair game and that there is no excuse for his "failure."

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