The GOP frontrunner's campaign hit the skids with a Politico report alleging 'inappropriate behavior' toward two female employees back in the 1990s.
Presumably in an effort to swat sexual-harassment accusations, Herman Cain said his wife will speak for the first time since he entered the presidential campaign. Gloria Cain, the campaign says, will appear on Greta Van Susteren's Fox News program on Friday night. “She will be introduced in terms of some limited exposure. But it’s not her style for her to be with me on every campaign stop,” Cain said.
Hope you’re not expecting lurid details. Herman Cain told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Monday that he was accused of sexual harassment by one of two women after measuring her height. Cain says the woman, whose name he does not remember, was in her 30s or early 40s and that he would see her because their offices were on the same floor. Asked about the alleged gestures he made that led to the complaint, Cain said, “She was in my office one day, and I made a gesture saying—and I was standing close to her—and I made a gesture saying you are the same height as my wife. And I brought my hand up to my chin saying, 'My wife comes up to my chin.’” Cain said the woman’s allegations were “baseless” and that he was “totally unaware” of formal charges related to the second woman.
GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain spent Monday morning denying he was ever accused of sexual harassment against two women in the 1990s. Then he ackowledged the allegations but said they were "false" and "baseless," while saying he knew "nothing" of a cash settlement. Now he acknowledged that he knew about a settlement that was offered to one of the women. "We ended up settling for what would have been a termination settlement," Cain told Fox News' Greta van Susteren in an interview to be shown Monday night.
Cain: 'I Was Falsely Accused'
Howard Kurtz reports.
Herman Cain is pushing back hard against a Politico report alleging that at least two women accused him of misconduct when he ran the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
"It is totally baseless and totally false," the presidential candidate told Fox News on Monday morning. "Never have I ever committed any kind of sexual harassment."
He added: "If the restaurant association did a settlement, I wasn’t even aware of it and I hope it wasn’t for much. If there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers at the restaurant association."
It remains unclear how the trade organization could have reached settlements with employees, with Cain’s own conduct at issue, without his knowledge. But his flat denial was far stronger than the carefully worded statement his campaign issued when the story broke Sunday night.
Cain Plays the Victim Card
by Michelle Goldberg
In May, Herman Cain told the Washington Examiner’s Byron York that liberals were going to target him because he was black. “They're going to come after me more viciously than they would a white candidate," he said, continuing, “And so, to use Clarence Thomas as an example, I'm ready for the same high-tech lynching that he went through—for the good of this country.”
Of course, as Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson show in Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court justice was almost certainly guilty of harassing Anita Hill. But on the right, the conviction that Thomas was a victim is close to sacrosanct. As Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen wrote in their bestselling A Patriot’s History of the United States, “Thomas was representative of a new class of African Americans who had become successful and prosperous with minimal, if any, aid from government. As such, he represented a significant threat to the civil rights establishment, whose central objective remained lobbying for government action on behalf of those it claimed to represent.”
Cain’s best hope lies in presenting himself as the victim of a similar left-wing conspiracy.
Details of the Harassment Claim
One woman has been identified as a former association board member and she reportedly received an “unwanted sexual advance” from Cain at a hotel. A source indicated that the woman had previously warned her current employer that she might be involved in an embarrassing news story about one of the presidential candidates.
Similarly, Cain had reportedly told a campaign staffer that an old sexual harassment claim might become an issue for the campaign. Cain explained that he had fired an employee in the early 1990s and the woman had accused him of sexual misconduct. But as Cain told it, he had won the case and the woman had paid his legal fees.
Joseph Fassler, the former chairman of the National Restaurant Association, cast some doubt on the allegations. “That’s a shock to me. As an officer during all of Herman’s years there as a paid executive … none of that stuff ever surfaced to me. Nobody ever called me, complained about this ... nor did I ever hear that from Herman Cain,” Fassler said. Another board member recalled that Cain’s treatment of women was “the same as his treatment of men. Herman treated everyone great.”
At first, Cain’s camp vehemently denied the allegations. J.D. Gordon, Cain’s spokesman, said the report contains “unsubstantiated personal attacks” and that the press is “casting aspersions on his character and spreading rumors that never stood up to the facts.” When asked if the campaign was denying the report, Gordon said, “Yes.” Cain was confronted outside CBS News in Washington Sunday. He said he would not comment without concrete evidence, and then glared at the reporter and asked, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”