After the Politico sexual harassment story broke last night, I knew Herman Cain’s appearance today at AEI would become a mega-event. The official topic was Cain’s 9-9-9 plan and tax reform, but clearly the media throng wanted to ask The Question. And ABC’s Jonathan Karl gave it his best shot before being told economic policy questions only. (After his AEI chat, Cain did talk about the controversy on Fox.)
Given the media storm, I found Team Cain—and the candidate himself—to be cool, calm, and collected. No outward sign that they believed the Cain bubble has finally burst or were worried that this news would seriously slow his momentum. We’ll see if that attitude is justified. They bungled the response out of the gate last night, and better have a few more details about what exactly happened when Cain ran the restaurant trade group. Here is Cain, via Politico:
Herman Cain said he was “falsely accused” of sexual harassment while he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association but said he had no knowledge of any settlements paid to his accusers during a Fox News interview Monday morning.
“It is totally baseless and totally false,” Cain said. “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.”
Is Cain really that sketchy on the details? Surely much more to come.