Herman Cain to “reassess” campaign in light of most recent shock allegation

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First, in case you hadn’t read about the most recent shock allegation against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, Fox 5 Atlanta posted a story about it yesterday:

ATLANTA, Ga. – An Atlanta businesswoman is breaking her silence, claiming she has been involved in a 13-year-long affair with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, FOX 5 senior I-Team reporter Dale Russell sat down with Ginger White, who had a story to tell.

“I’m not proud,” White told Russell. “I didn’t want to come out with this. I did not.”

White was worried a political tsunami was headed her way. So, she decided to head it off, by confessing she was involved in a 13-year-long affair with presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

“It was pretty simple,” White said. “It wasn’t complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship.”

Ginger White says she met Herman Cain in the late 90s in Louisville, Kentucky, when as president of the National Restaurant Association, he made a presentation. She was impressed. She says they shared drinks afterwards and he invited her back to his hotel room.

“’I’d like to see you again,’” White said Cain told her. “’You are beautiful to me, and I would love for us to continue this friendship.’”

She says in his hotel room, he pulled out a calendar and invited her to meet him in Palm Springs. She accepted, and she says the affair began.

“He made it very intriguing,” White told FOX 5. “It was fun. It was something that took me away from my humdrum life at the time. And it was exciting.”

She says he gave her his newly-published book, Leadership is Common Sense, and he wrote: “Miss G, you have already made a ‘big difference!’ Stay focused as you pursue your next destination.”

She says during the next 13 years, he would fly her to cities where he was speaking and he lavished her with gifts. She says they often stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Buckhead and dined at The Four Seasons restaurant. She says he never harassed her, never treated her poorly, and was the same man you see on the campaign trail.

Read the rest of the story for what White claims is “evidence” to support her assertion about the affair.

Cain has, of course, denied the allegations and in fact tried to get ahead of them yesterday before the story broke by saying there was a woman who was going to come forth with allegations of an affair, and that what she said would not be true.

Today, some 24 hours after White’s story became public, Cain held a brief conference call with senior campaign staffers to let them know he was “reassessing” whether or not to continue with his campaign. National Review was also on the call and has this transcript:

“Obviously, you’re all aware of this recent firestorm that hit the news yesterday,” Cain began, his voice somber. “First thing I want to do is say to you what I have said publicly: I deny those charges, unequivocally. Secondly, I have known this lady for a number of years. And thirdly, I have been attempting to help her financially because she was out of work and destitute, desperate. So, thinking that she was a friend — and I have helped many friends — I now know that she wasn’t the friend that I thought she was. But it was a just a friendship relationship.”

“That being said, obviously, this is cause for reassessment,” he continued. “As you know, during the summer we had to make some reassessments based upon our financial situation. We were able to hang in there; we reassessed the situation and kept on going. We also did a reassessment after the Iowa straw poll and we made another reassessment after the Florida straw poll. When the previous two accusations, false accusations, came about, we made another assessment. The way we handled those was, we continued on with our schedule. We made an assessment about what was going to happen to our support. But our supporters, and even some folks that we didn’t have as supporters, they stood with us, and they showed it not only in terms of their verbal support, they showed it in terms of their dollars.”

“Now, with this latest one, we have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud, in some people’s minds, as to whether or not they would be able to support us going forth,” Cain said.

“Over the next several days, we are going to continue with the schedule as usual,” he said. “I’ve got a major speech tonight at Hillsdale College on national security and foreign policy, and I will deliver it with vim, vigor, and enthusiasm. And then tomorrow we’ve got some media appearances scheduled. So we’re going to continue until we complete our assessment over the next several days.”

“But if a decision is made, different than to plow ahead, you all will be the first to know,” he said. “So until that time, I want to continue to thank you all for your support, thank you for your prayers. It’s taken an emotional toll, but the people in the audience tonight will never know it.”

“It’s also taken a toll on my wife and family, as you would imagine,” he concluded. “Any time you put another cloud of doubt, unfortunately, in the court of public opinion, for some people, you’re guilty until proven innocent. And so, the public will have to decide whether they believe her or whether they believe me. That’s why we’re going to give it time, to see what type of response we get from our supporters.”

Well, in light of how the Cain campaign – including Cain himself – totally bungled the response to the sexual harassment charges thrown at him last month, his initial responses in this case have at least come across as more composed and measured. That being said, I’m a little troubled that instead of fighting back against allegations he claims are untrue and committing himself to staying in the campaign, he is trying to decide whether or not to stay in. My initial reaction to the story about this conference call was that people who have nothing to hide wouldn’t be considering quitting as he is.

What do you think? Do you believe this is nothing more than a coordinated smear campaign? Or are you of the viewpoint that “where there is smoke, there’s fire”?

“What a Brownback!”

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**Posted by Phineas

There’s an old saying about public figures attacking newspapers who say things they don’t like: “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.”

Well, it seems we need to update that for the 21st century: “Never pick a fight with a teenager who has a Twitter account.”

It’s a lesson Governor Sam Brownback (R-KS) learned the hard way:

It’s not every day someone turns your name into a noun. But welcome to the big leagues, Kansas Gov. (and former Sen.) Sam Brownback, and all because you trained the state’s resources on an 18-year-old senior at Shawnee Mission East High School who tweeted something mean about you.

Recall the ancient history of last week, when Emma Sullivan boasted on Twitter that she said a “mean comment” to the governor during a Youth in Government event in Topeka where Brownback was speaking. She ended the tweet with the hashtag “heblowsalot.” Team Brownback declared war on the teen and told on her to Shawnee Mission East High School principal Karl Krawitz. Krawitz called Sullivan into the office and demanded she apologize. She refused. Brownback apologized Monday.

Now Brownback faces the wrath of the Twitterverse, including this tweet from @MildlyRelevant: “Gov. Brownback’s office tattled on a high school girl who tweeted ‘#heblowsalot.’ I’m tattling on them for being a colossal Brownback.” There you have it: a proper noun.

Was Emma Sullivan a mouthy jerk? Sure. Just as I’m sure you’re all shocked someone in high school would do something like that. In fact, that a teenager would say something stupid and immature when showing off for friends (and followers) is so unusual and outrageous that it left a state governor and former US senator no choice but to crush her like an insolent bug:

Mr Brownback’s office contacted the school and complained about the tweet.

The following day Emma wound up in the principal’s office, NBC Action News reports.

She said: ‘He laid into me about how this was unacceptable and an embarrassment.

‘He said I had created this huge controversy and everyone was up in arms about it … and now he had to do damage control.’

She said she was told to write a formal apology to the governor, which so far she hasn’t done.

Emma said: ‘I don’t agree with a majority of the things that he is trying to pass.

‘I believe that it is my right to state my opinion.’

The school’s principal said: ‘This is not about political views since none were given in the tweet – it’s about being respectful with a public official whether we agree or disagree with their viewpoints.’

Yeah, right. I imagine what this was really about was the phone call the principal got from Topeka and vague hints of future “career advancement difficulties” if he didn’t force Miss Sullivan to GROVEL BEFORE THE ALMIGHTY GOVERNOR!!

I doubt the principal was all that concerned about the principle.

Not that I’m defending Sullivan’s behavior; she was a smart-alecky, immature jerk of a not-uncommon variety, and maybe her parents should have had a word with her about “respectful disagreement.” But she’s a jerk who also happens to have a right to free political speech, even if said speech is expressed in a manner more befitting an 8-year old, not an 18-year old legal adult with the right to vote.

But if Emma Sullivan was a jerk, then Governor Sam Brownback was a jackass who tried to punish someone for exercising their right to free speech (a right he swore to protect as senator and which is guaranteed under the Kansas constitution) and in the process punched so far under his class that, like President Obama attacking a radio host, he made himself look like a fool.

Or, to use the new buzzword, a “Brownback.”

The real lesson here, I think, is the illustration of the arrogance career politicians of all parties are prone to, where they think they’re protected by some form of law against lese majeste. Far from it; if you’re a politician in a democracy, you have to live with the reality that some people are going to say mean things about you.

And if Governor Brownback can’t handle that and keeps acting like a Brownback, then perhaps the voters of Kansas should give him a lesson in democratic humility at the next election.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)