What do you make of the sexual harassment story against Herman Cain?

Posted by: ST on October 31, 2011 at 9:18 pm

The Politico story of allegations of sexual harassment against Cain have been hard to follow, but the AJC does a decent job here – including noting how Mr. Cain has changed his initial story about not knowing what the allegations were, that there was a “cash settlement”, etc:

At the National Press Club this afternoon, GOP presidential campaign Herman Cain said this about accusations of inappropriate behavior with two female employees of the National Restaurant Association, which he headed:

”As far as a settlement, I am unaware of any kind of settlement. I hope it wasn’t for much, because I didn’t do anything. But the fact of the matter is, I’m not aware of a settlement that came out of that accusation.”

But in an interview with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News, to be aired at 10 p.m. this evening, Cain will contradict himself. He will admit knowing about a cash settlement – “maybe three months’ salary,” according to Byron York of the Washington Examiner.

Cain will also describe the gesture cited as offensive by the unidentified woman, according to York – who apparently has heard or seen the video. He’s a Fox News contributor.

It may end up here that Cain did nothing. I don’t know. What I DO know is that I haven’t been impressed with is how his campaign team have responded to the allegations. Politico reported:

In a series of comments over the past 10 days, Cain and his campaign repeatedly declined to respond directly about whether he ever faced allegations of sexual harassment at the restaurant association. They have also declined to address questions about specific reporting confirming that there were financial settlements in two cases in which women leveled complaints.

His media team’s responses once the story broke were less than forthcoming. It’s almost as if they were blindsided, when in reality they weren’t. If there’s nothing to this story, nip it in the bud – especially when you’ve had days (possibly longer than that) to prepare. This is Politics 101.

Some have suggested that, since Cain’s stock has risen over the last few weeks, that this could be a “hit piece” planted by Romney or Perry. I doubt it. I suspect this story is breaking now because there is more of an interest in Cain, and the more you rise to the top, the more likely you are going to have media types digging into your record. I could be wrong, but that’s where I’m at on this right now.

What do you think?

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29 Responses to “What do you make of the sexual harassment story against Herman Cain?”


  1. Scott Santamaria says:

    I have been coming to your site for a little over a year now and, for the most part, agree with everything I have read (really I have agreed with EVERYTHING I have read but I always like to leave room for a qualifier) That being said, this is the first time I have left a comment. I have been following the Cain campaign for a while now and know that his staff is not political. You state in your post that you are not impressed with his teams response. Well…that is why. I just had this discussion with my mother who has owned her own business for over 40 years. She thinks it is great that his senior staff is more business than political. This is the example I gave her as to why it is not.

  2. Deedee says:

    I don’t worry about this story or his bungled response.
    I have met him and he is great.
    After all the evil of the thug in the WH, I will take Cain anyday.

  3. Carlos says:

    That’s nice in theory, Deedee, but the reality is that if a candidate for such an office appears to be lying or holding back on the truth, to the majority of voters he will appear as little more than what we have now.

    That said, it is obviously a hit piece, whether it has any truth to it or not, whether it was from a Repub rival or from Obhammud’s camp. This is the type of thing that usually shows up closer to the nomination, or as an “October surprise.”

    Fer cryin’ out loud, Herm, tell the truth up front and move on. Otherwise you set yourself up in the middle of a pack that includes nearly every D.C. politico and his chief rivals for the nomination, as a liar and a thief.

    The presidency is Herm’s to lose at this point, IMHO. I hope he doesn’t blow it with garbage like this.

  4. Joe says:

    My initial worries of Cain being unschooled in the tactics of the sharks in politics was he wouldn’t handle it well. He has done some of that, but I have seen him learn pretty damn quick. His initial response was bungled, but I have faith he shall learn from it and move on. Cain has pretty much the complete package as a GOP candidate and look forward to seeing him march on and take the nomination. Other than Newt, the GOP candidates are all lacking. Cain/Newt or Newt/Cain…that should be the ticket.

  5. Ed says:

    I watched the interviews; it was watching a regular guy answer questions as you and i would. Picture Romney or Perry or any politician answering the same (remember how Clinton behaved under the same)—do you think they would have offered info and tried to recollect? You would have heard non-answers and political speak. The camp’s responses have not troubled me at all and are understandable under the situation. This is all so very, very sad; everyone else gets a pass…but not HC..esp from the GOP—they are his biggest obstacle right now…

  6. I was all aboard the Cain Train from the beginning. I have since revoked my ticket. His changing his story today just makes me realize that I was correct. He knew this was coming and was still unprepared. Not a good sign of what type of leader he will be. Obviously he is a good businessman, but he doesn’t seem to be a very good politico (no pun intended).

  7. Dave B says:

    I am a Romney supporter for a plethora of reasons but this is nothing but a smear and an attempt to put a minority conservative “in his place.” Herman Cain has changed the dialogue in this election cycle with respect to conservative minorities, the tax codes, national debt, and unfortunately this will bring to light the current environment when dealing with litigation involving harassment allegations and more importantly the state of journalism and the left wing media as it truly exists today. How does a decent man get his good name back after something like this is floated out with no proof and no facts? I would hope that my candidate calls this for what it is and in the process addresses what the media did to Sarah Palin. If he doesn’t, I’ll support someone else.

  8. joshua10235 says:

    Well said, Dave B. It is refreshing to see the majority of commentators see this for what it is. Politics as usual. Mr. Cain is changing the standard, as President Reagan did, to include honesty, morality, graciousness, and humility. I am certainly not a political pundit nor an “analytic expert” of the level of Jeannine Garafofo or Bill Migraine (maher), but I am in tune to my gut. It says Herman Cain is the man for 2012…

  9. foxmuldar says:

    I don’t have a problem with Cain or his team coming out with different stories on an issue that took place a long time ago. Had this supposed harrasement taken place last month or last year then I’d expect it to be a bigger issue.

    Doesn’t this accusations by Politico bring to mind the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings. Have we forgotten Anita Hill who made a bundle of cash going around making speeches on college campusses for years following her accusations over a pubic hair incident she claimed too place.

    I see this as nothing more the dirt digging by Politico and its leftwing Obama supporters. Afterall a black man running for president on the GOP ticket would likely be a stronger opponent against Obama then the standard white wimpy candidates the GOP has been pushing as their choice.

    Have we all forgotten Slick Willy Clinton. That guy got elected twice and he always had a problem keeping his pants on.

  10. bob jones says:

    Wouldn’t surprise me if this didn’t come from White House/DNC as a distraction to get attention away from the constant scandals coming from this administration. The Fast and Furious gunrunner scandal is heating up, not going away, the Solyndra and other Green industry frauds on taxpayers aren’t going away, Sheriff Joe in Arizona is getting to the bottom of the birth certificate fraud and all the while Obama bypasses Congress and involves us in new wars and conflicts monthly. Also, they are probably hard at work getting the SEIU to fix all the voting machines to work like the ones in Nevada did in 2010, with Harry Reid already selected ahead of time on most machines, although I’m sure that it was just a very honest mistake by a very neutral, non-partisan union.

  11. Anji says:

    Doesn’t bother me a bit. No one lies more than the guy in the White House, and it seems to be a-ok with the media and libs. I don’t believe he’s lying about it, and even if he is… I don’t care. I believe he’s the only candidate who can beat Obama. Romney is a used car salesman and dem in conservative clothing. It astounds me how conservatives will eat their own.

  12. CZ says:

    All nonsense this did was make me like Herman even more. Same happened when they tried to destroy Clarence Thomas. Times and rules have changed. This whole thing stinks and anyone with a brain cell is wise to it.

    Using a weak sexual smear is the only polite and PC dirty trick known by a compliant media to take down a conservative black political figure. If Herman was a leftist, the media would be ripping the accusers.

    Just makes me wretch.

  13. Ksevens says:

    I feel it’s a hit piece.

    The questions I’m asking are how many cases in the last 30 yrs has the nat restaurant assn settled for under 25k? If it was frivolous , was Cain protecting the accusers who may not be the source of the story, from being savaged like Joe the plumber?

    I’ll grant the campaign is sucking at the response. It looks as if as a nation we’d rather have a slick liar (I credit Clinton with being a master politician) than a non politician with an impressive resume. At times it’s painful to watch a neophyte politician.

  14. stukinIL4now says:

    I think the LameStreamMeatheads couldda/shouldda given even half this attention to the sordid associations and underground activities of a presidential candidate 3 years ago, and, oh, yeah, to that candidate’s corrupt, impeachable, unconstitutional actions since he assumed the office of Prez-uh-dunce.

  15. PE says:

    On the one hand, I need more information. On the other, he is now at the mercy of a media flash mob.

  16. Marsha says:

    So many parts of this story leave one to wonder why at this time and not later? My biggest question is this: Why was this information not paraded out when he was running for the senate? Why was this information held for 15 yrs and all of a sudden seems so “relevant?” I agree with others that his camp has handled it poorly…but also, they are not experienced politicians with slick answers, canned responses, and oily comments. I hope he does survive this….And too bad the MSM did not deem it worthy to investigate a man running for president who had been accused of rape….double standard

  17. Dennis D says:

    Charges of sexual harrassment are very easy to file and are filed frivolously often. I know one case where a male heterosexual manager was accused by a male heterosexual employee of sexual harrassment. The employee was close to being dismissed and he knew it. A few months prior the manager had noted how the color of his sweater matched his eyes. Small talk nothing more. The employee filed sexual harrassment before he was actually fired. Because human resources had to investigate it prolonged his employment 3 weeks. The frivolous charge gained him an additional 3 weeks pay he would not have received.

  18. your mama says:

    Folks are asking why it took so long for Cain to comment on these accusations.
    Well, if there was nothing to them, and it was settled long ago, why should he?
    And by the way, where was this hack on the Edwards story that was covered up for so long that a tabloid outed it?
    These folks sure are scared of the republican front runners.

  19. Lorica says:

    including noting how Mr. Cain has changed his initial story about not knowing what the allegations were, that there was a “cash settlement”, etc:

    Most likely Mr. Cain made a phone call to an old colleague to find out what happened.

    Personally his responses even tho have been sluggish, have been appropriate. According to the agreement this no longer exists, since there was an agreed upon closed statement. The woman who broke the agreement should be thrown in jail and should pay the severance back. As far as I see it is a bunch of garbage from a disgruntled former employee.

    More “macaca” from the people who defended Bill Clinton’s sexual activities while he was in the White House. To paraphrase Billy Boy, what is the definition of innuendo?? Which one of my all time favorite lines during that time was “Its just about sex”. As if to say “who cares”, but now all of a sudden, this sort of thing matters to these types of people. Whatever. LOL – Lorica

  20. H Hazell says:

    I believe that this is being dribbled out deliberately to make Cain’s response more challenging. Trying to go back 15 years to reconstruct events, circumstances and outcomes is a challenge. The article in Politico left so much unsaid. All I could make of it was that maybe it’s related to Cain, maybe it isn’t. He is forced to get out in front of “it” without sufficient time to gather enough facts to understand what “it” is and satisfy the media hunger for his blood.

  21. Pasadena Phil says:

    What I find most disturbing are “conservative” bloggers like Dan Riehl and American Spectator piling on. Riehl has lost his mind and American Spectator posted a disingenuous commentary yesterday about “withholding judgment until all facts are known”.

    It’s is utterly impossible to fight the establishment so long as our own side allows itself to be so easily derailed. It’s like Mark Stein says in the prologue of his new book “After America”, regardless of how the polls keep telling us that 50, 60, 70% of Americans describe themselves as being “conservative”, they don’t vote that way. The nose holders are absolutely crippling those of us who are tired of the corrupt establishment.

    It’s like I keep saying (and getting skewered for it), if you are tired of the status quo, stop voting for it!

  22. Pieter says:

    Someone tried to take Cain down a notch and there’s not much there so people want to take him down for how he handled it.


    Is there an example ANYWHERE of a person handling ridiculous stuff like this any better? What’s the “he did a great job handling this” standard?

    I can’t think of any. Its as if we have a free pass for anyone willing to make an anonymous claim these days. Here, free media attention… just make your no-name claim… here’s your pass to the talk show circuit. Extra bonus points if you time your story real well. That’s rotten to the core.

    Let’s keep in mind, Cain wasn’t accused of doing anything unsavory. At least, there hasn’t been a description of any. Sexual harassment claims that don’t involve anything physical and can’t be verified should be given the air time they deserve… none.

  23. John says:

    The timing seems suspect, and the allegations vague.

  24. CAMom says:

    He’s a threat to the Democrats – he’s a very strong GOP candidate – People LIKE the idea that he’s not a career politician – I find it extremely interesting that, as I’ve been hearing, all this came about due to some digging by the guy who rented the house next to Sarah Palin in Alaska – sound a bit suspect to anyone???

    Cain’s got my vote in the primary – for the actual election, whoever is the GOP candidate gets my vote. But I truly think Herman Cain is the best candidate out there…

  25. Carlos says:

    If the LSM is so intent on getting to the bottom of all this “unsavoryness,” when will they then turn their full attention to the politics of Chicago and Illinois during the time our grand and glorious leader held office, specifically about Rezko and some very interesting bank deals, not to mention campaign financing? And that doesn’t even begin to cover what’s happened while he’s held his present office.

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen, or for the LSM to clean up after their climax over this one.

  26. oz says:

    The day 0bama answers about his connection to Rev. Wright’s MAN COUNTRY and his weekly visits there will be the day I ‘might’ pay attention to any accusation thrown toward any Republican candidate.
    And what about 0bama’s ‘body man’ Reggie Love?

  27. Kate says:

    Herman has enemies in the GOP and DNC….because he is not one of the political elites. He has not been knighted by the GOP faithful power makers to be their next presidential candidate. For that reason alone I stand by this man. Sarah Palin can fill him in on what’s going to happen next.

    I want a rank outsider to come in and clean up the roaches and rats that reside in Washington. Someone who can say with a all honesty that the problem is with the people who make laws that leave us broke and can’t balance a budget and is not a part of the problem.

  28. Mark T says:

    Nobody will ever know what truly transpired between Herman Cain and the accusers. However he worked for a reputable organization and he remained working as the top executive after the accusations. The board of director, human resources and legal counsel looked into the matter. If it would have been with merit he would have been outed. These things are never good but with work relationships these kinds of things will arise. I look at the vast number of people that have known Herman, worked with Herman and speak highly of him. This is a sad day when past allegations with apparently no merit are used to damage a person whether they are a candidate for office or not. LET IT GO!! hE IS ALREADY FOUND NOT GUILTY QUIT TRYING TO LYNCH HIM PEOPLE!!

  29. RageFury says:

    Cain is not my candidate but I will say, regardless of what mudslinging is cast about, if he gets the nomination he gets my vote.

    Even if he is guilty he paid restitution and justice was done. That is where it should have ended.

    Since this didn’t come up day 1 I fail to see it as an issue. I refuse to give it any further attention as the action in bringing it up is abhorrent and was not in the interest of justice but in the interest of gaining an advantage.

    I have had little patience for mudslinging since the 90s and have zero in the present. For once I would like to see a Presidential Election be, well, Presidential…