"What is Aleppo?"
With those words in an interview Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson committed the first big political gaffe of his presidential campaign, and he knows it.
"Believe me," he said in an interview with Bloomberg afterward. "No one is taking this more seriously than me. I feel horrible."
In a rambling start to the interview, Johnson said he is "guilty" of "not remembering or identifying" Aleppo, the Syrian city that has been a hotbed of conflict and is situated at the center of opposing forces in the crisis. Before the civil war, Aleppo had been Syria's most populous city.
The comment has already become a big flap in the election cycle, as "it should," Johnson said.
"I have to get smarter, and that's just part of the process," he said.