Cain denies sexual-harassment claims

posted at 8:45 am on October 31, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

There are many headlines that strike fear in the hearts of presidential campaigns — and this one from Politico is probably right near the worst of them.  Last night, they ran a story that the National Restaurant Association had to settle two sexual-harassment claims against Herman Cain when he chaired the trade group in the 1990s:

During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.

The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.

Cain got challenged to respond to this earlier in the day, which led to an uncomfortable moment:

Cain said he has “had thousands of people working for me” at different businesses over the years and could not comment “until I see some facts or some concrete evidence.” His campaign staff was given the name of one woman who complained last week, and it was repeated to Cain on Sunday. He responded, “I am not going to comment on that.”

He was then asked, “Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?”

He breathed audibly, glared at the reporter and stayed silent for several seconds. After the question was repeated three times, he responded by asking the reporter, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”

By late evening, the Cain campaign had a more polished response in denying that Cain had ever engaged in sexual harassment, without denying the existence of the settlements:

Fearing the message of Herman Cain who is shaking up the political landscape in Washington, Inside the Beltway media have begun to launch unsubstantiated personal attacks on Cain.

Dredging up thinly sourced allegations stemming from Mr. Cain’s tenure as the Chief Executive Officer at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, political trade press are now casting aspersions on his character and spreading rumors that never stood up to the facts.

Since Washington establishment critics haven’t had much luck in attacking Mr. Cain’s ideas to fix a bad economy and create jobs, they are trying to attack him in any way they can.engag

Sadly, we’ve seen this movie played out before – a prominent Conservative targeted by liberals simply because they disagree with his politics.

Mr. Cain — and all Americans, deserve better.

I’m not sure that Politico’s story about the settlements are “thinly sourced”; they appear to have made contact with the women involved, and Cain’s team pointedly did not deny that the settlements occurred.  Politico also claimed to have seen the actual settlement documents and have a half-dozen sources for the story.  Otherwise, this is a best-defense-is-a-good-offense response, blaming the media for reporting the story.

If the settlements exist, and if they pertain to sexual harassment, then it’s certainly fair game for the media.  This would differ from the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill allegations, as Hill never reported Thomas contemporaneous to the supposed harassment (and continued working for him after they supposedly occurred).  The two settlements would indicate that the women involved undertook action contemporaneous to the claims, which is more substantial than Hill’s behavior.  However, it’s not clear from the story whether the settlements themselves are settled legal complaints, or merely small golden parachutes that don’t make any reference to the reason for the departure of the two women.

Even if the settlements reference sexual-harassment complaints, it’s important to remember that settlements in and of themselves don’t necessarily mean guilt or innocence.  Anyone who has worked with high-ranking executives — especially those who have high public profiles — knows that they make pretty tasty targets for legal claims, whether warranted or not.  For most organizations, it’s easier and cheaper to settle harassment claims than to fight them.  The two women got five-figure settlements, which don’t seem particularly pricy, but that could also be deceptive — the women might not have had the resources to pursue the claims further than a smaller settlement, either.  Cain doesn’t appear to have been rushed out of his position at the NRA, and he has had a very long run of success as an executive with a number of companies, and so far there hasn’t been any other claims of impropriety.  That speaks in his favor, as long as that remains the case — and the Politico story indicates that may be the case:

Ron Magruder, Denise Marie Fugo and Joseph Fassler, the chair, vice chair and immediate past chairman of the National Restaurant Association board of directors at the time of Cain’s departure, said they hadn’t heard about any complaints regarding Cain making unwanted advances.

“I have never heard that. It would be news to me,” said Fugo, who runs a Cleveland, Ohio, catering company, adding such behavior would be totally out of character for the Cain she knew. “He’s very gracious.” …

Cain was “extremely professional” and “fair” to female staffers at the restaurant association, recalled Lee Ellen Hayes, who said she “worked fairly closely with” Cain in the late 1990s, when she was an executive at the National Restaurant Association Education Fund, a Chicago-based offshoot of the group.

Cain’s treatment of women was “the same as his treatment of men. Herman treated everyone great,” said Mary Ann Cricchio, who was elected to the board of the restaurant group in 1998. She said Cain left such a good impression on the organization that when he spoke at a group event in January of this year, as he was considering a presidential bid, “he had unanimous support in the room.”

Cain has certainly made his private-sector executive experience part of his resumé for President, including his leadership at the NRA.  If — and that’s a big if — Cain engaged in inappropriate conduct as an executive to the extent that it cost his employer cast to settle the issues, then that would speak to his judgment.  While no one should leap to the conclusion that Cain’s committed that kind of conduct, the existence of those settlements would require at least some explanation from Cain.

Update: We might need a little more explanation from Politico, too. Here’s Jonathan Martin on MSNBC, refusing to get specific about what exactly Cain said and did, out of sensitivity to the women involved, courtesy of Newsbusters:

WILLIE GEIST: Hey Jonathan, what are the allegations specifically as you understand them? There’s obviously a wide range in sexual harassment. What did he do?

JONATHAN MARTIN: We-, we-, well we have to be careful about that obviously, because we’re sensitive to –

GEIST: Of course –

MARTIN: — the sourcing involved here. And also, what also happened to these women as well–we want to be sensitive to that, too. It includes both verbal and physical gestures. These women felt uncomfortable, they were unhappy about their treatment, and they complained to both colleagues and senior officials. In one case it involved, I think, inviting a woman up to a hotel room of Cain’s on the road. Um, but, we-, we-, we’re just not going to get into the details of exactly what happened with these women beside what’s in the story.

Frankly, that’s not going to cut it. If the women have decided to start telling people about their claims, then they should identify themselves and tell the whole story. If it’s others who are talking about these claims and the women aren’t the sources for Politico, then that brings up a good question as to whether Politico has the details right in the first place. Either way, if Politico wants to run a piece accusing a presidential candidate of sexual harassment in his past, then its readers deserve all of the details so that they can make up their minds about whether the accusers and the accusations are credible.

Update II: Jazz Shaw has more thoughts, especially on the differences between this and the Anita Hill story.

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I’ll tell you what the difference is between this and the Anita Hill story. This time, certain GOP camps stand to gain by knifing Cain in the back, especially by fervently denying that this has any similarity with the Clarence Thomas playbook.

KingGold on October 31, 2011 at 9:52 AM

What’s that I hear… is that?…why yes, it’s violins in the background, playing just for ol’ Herm Cain. Just let me know the date and time of the pity party.

Welcome to the big leagues, Herman. And just remember the timeless rule… there’s no crying in politics…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Only one possible explanation for these accusations… Racism… Racists… Every last one of them. Can’t possibly be anything else… No way.

Rugged Individual on October 31, 2011 at 9:55 AM

Besides this stinks of the same kind of ‘shopped’ story tried on Perry…

tinkerthinker on October 31, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Which tells me that there was at least the appearance of something there.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 9:52 AM

You obviously do not understand business, or you are very naive…if a lawsuit is for $100,000 and the corporation could spend $50,000-100,000 to defend and the publicity, it is settled, it happens all the time…the contract would state, no admittance of guilt, and either parties cannot discuss.
That is standard so standard that the fact that is not apparent to you, shows that perhaps you are maybe a taxi driver, or maybe an independent farmer, or maybe a hermit?

right2bright on October 31, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Well, if he can grope a few more, dig up a kid he had with a staffer, he can put “Rev.” in front of “Herman” and get a head honcho job with the NAACP.
/silver linings

hoosiermama on October 31, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Punchenko on October 31, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Funny how you don’t feel that way about dealing with Newt’s problems.

Nevertheless, that wasn’t my point, the point is that this is a strange time to use this. Especially when it’s apparently been shopped to all of the networks, and the tabloids and turned down.

If you’re going to drop a Dan Rather, you do it when you’re so close to the election that the candidate can’t do anything about it.

Jason Coleman on October 31, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Probably Perrys team giving this to media.

the_nile on October 31, 2011 at 9:54 AM

love ya man, but don’t go there unless you know for sure, politico is the one who should be on the hotplate for putting this story out…

cmsinaz on October 31, 2011 at 9:57 AM

What’s John Edwards up to these days? How is that [love] child of his doing?

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 9:58 AM

According to reports, these women claimed that Cain engaged in behavior that made them “angry” and “uncomfortable.” Well then I guess it’s time for me to sue Obama.

redfoxbluestate on October 31, 2011 at 9:59 AM

love ya man, but don’t go there unless you know for sure, politico is the one who should be on the hotplate for putting this story out…

cmsinaz on October 31, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Thinly sourced =/= unsourced

They had to have gotten this from somewhere. Unless it was Politico who was unprepared — for the scrutiny due a poorly sourced [s]hit piece.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 9:59 AM

LOL. Show me evidence that Herman Cain had or tried to have sex with a female staffer and I’ll shut up.

This is thin gruel and you know it is. I’m not a Cain supporter right now but I think this stinks.

rockmom on October 31, 2011 at 9:46 AM

Then Herm Cain has a mighty easy rememdy… come out, and own up to everything that happened, if anything happened. Take a page out of George W. Bush’s playbook.

The alternative is of course, having some sort of settlement of some sort of complaint with two women, of a vaguely sexual nature, in which money was apparently paid… money that was, by all indications, not Herman Cain’s, just sort of hanging there for the rest of the campaign.

If he so chooses to do so, then the public can draw their own conclusions…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Politico could have done Cain a favor. If he survives this, he’ll be the nominee.

Politico is scum, by the way.

rrpjr on October 31, 2011 at 10:00 AM

According to reports, these women claimed that Cain engaged in behavior that made them “angry” and “uncomfortable.” Well then I guess it’s time for me to sue Obama.

redfoxbluestate on October 31, 2011 at 9:59 AM

As a guy who has been accused of harassment myself, I can tell you that can be absolutely ANYTHING. It doesn’t have to be sexual in nature in the slightest for a man to be a sacrificial lamb.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Herman Cain
From Team HC: Be sure to watch Mr. Cain on FOX News Happening Now today at 11:15am Eastern!

Facebook, posted 20 mins ago

pambi on October 31, 2011 at 10:01 AM

I would suspect that Cain has to honor the NDA just as much as the women in this story. He probably has to wait to see if these women actually broke the NDA first themselves before saying anything himself for fear of legal reprisals.

AverageJoe on October 31, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Cain looked visibly uncomfortable when approached by Jonathan Martin and asked about his alleged sexual harassment. Cain needs to come clean before he ruins his credibility.

Punchenko on October 31, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Politico could have done Cain a favor. If he survives this, he’ll be the nominee.

Politico is scum, by the way.

rrpjr on October 31, 2011 at 10:00 AM

I agree.

If he was a creeper, everyone would know, regardless of payoffs. That stuff doesn’t stay a secret; women talk.

hoosiermama on October 31, 2011 at 10:03 AM

You obviously do not understand business, or you are very naive…if a lawsuit is for $100,000 and the corporation could spend $50,000-100,000 to defend and the publicity, it is settled, it happens all the time…the contract would state, no admittance of guilt, and either parties cannot discuss.

right2bright on October 31, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Oh, I understand business quite well. I understand lots of businesses take a zero-tolerance approach to such activity… if for no other reason than to fold to such activity simply invites every slip-and-fall con man to take advantage. I know GE, Rockwell, and Deere-Milliken (if they are still around) held to such corporate practices for decades.

But you know what I understand better than I understand business? I understand politics. And I understand that when someone who has 10 days to clear the air of an accusation doesn’t do so… it is usually because there is something to the accusation.

Put on the big boy pants, Herm… get your mug out there, and own up to whatever happened.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Except in Herman’s case, it appears they did file suit.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Actually, according to the information Politico puts out there, it means exactly the opposite.

If there were a suit, there would be a record of a suit, and there is NOT any record of a suit. There is a severance package and an NDA. You can call that a “settlement” if you like, to an allegation that an employee may or may not have made, but there is ZERO evidence of a lawsuit of any kind.

Take it for what it is, because you know they’ve sensationalized it all they can. Some verbiage and a gesture that were not sexual in and of themselves, but which the women claimed made them uncomfortable.

If more comes out, so be it, but it doesn’t look like there’s anything more than what is on the table. Expect the media to hammer away on the NDA and try to make that proof of Cains guilt of some nefarious unnamed thing.

Jason Coleman on October 31, 2011 at 10:04 AM

He may have seemed befuddled because part of the settlement may have been that all parties not comment.

Let’s say there was little to no evidence, but a paltry sum just to make it go away was easier than fighting a costly court battle… then they settle and everybody agrees to not comment.

Sounds plausible.

mankai on October 31, 2011 at 10:05 AM

rockmom on October 31, 2011 at 9:25 AM

I had an Master Sergeant (Air Force) working for me at a Major Air Force base in the early 80′s. He was showing two new members of his section, female, how to drive the flight line when another vehicle cut him off. He reflexively gave the other driver the universal road sign. Before it was all done he was being Court Martialed for sexual harassment. Suffice to say it ruined his career. What a world we live in.

chemman on October 31, 2011 at 10:05 AM

“The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.”

Sounds like they are going to have to give back the money now and I wonder how much they were paid to talk now, which I am guessing is more then they were originally paid.

JeffinSac on October 31, 2011 at 10:06 AM

As a guy who has been accused of harassment myself, I can tell you that can be absolutely ANYTHING. It doesn’t have to be sexual in nature in the slightest for a man to be a sacrificial lamb.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Fine.

If it is so innocent… let him come clean on it.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:06 AM

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 9:59 AM

i’m just saying if someone assumes it came from the perry camp, i would hope they would have proof to show us…

cmsinaz on October 31, 2011 at 10:07 AM

OT: Cain raises $19 million.

andy85719 on October 31, 2011 at 10:07 AM

I think Cain is probably toast. It would be one thing if he were a Democrat. Politico would obviously have not run the story. But as a Republican, one has to be squeaky clean to run for office. People understand that Democrats make no claims on morality, therefore the public doesn’t expect them to have any.

WarEagle01 on October 31, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Actually, according to the information Politico puts out there, it means exactly the opposite.

If there were a suit, there would be a record of a suit, and there is NOT any record of a suit.

Jason Coleman on October 31, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Fair enough.

But it does appear there was a settlement, and it does appear that money changed hands.

Time to own up to whatever happened…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:08 AM

If he so chooses to do so, then the public can draw their own conclusions…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Pal, it’s up to Politico to back up what they are stating, and so far they can’t.
He, by contract, can’t discuss the details, I would be the settlement was for no admittance of any thing wrong…therefore if the woman state their was nothing wrong, he is correct, there is nothing to it it has been settled.
You don’t have to answer every accusation, the accusation has to be factual, and there are no facts, just innuendos…
But I wouldn’t expect you to acknowledge or accept that…

right2bright on October 31, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Fine.

If it is so innocent… let him come clean on it.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:06 AM

If it’s innocent, there’s nothing for him to come clean on. Your so-called “humble requests” for Herm to spill the beans are so full of assumption, I can hardly decide where to begin picking it apart.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:08 AM

The 1990′s were rife with harrassment suits. It was very common to resolve them vs. litigating them. If the women settled in the five-figure range you can bet that their claims lacked merit.

Key West Reader on October 31, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Except in Herman’s case, it appears they did file suit. And, again in Herman’s case, it appears that they were paid money for their pain and suffering (sorry… lawyer joke there).

Which tells me that there was at least the appearance of something there.

You want to be POTUS, Herm… take a page from the last GOP POTUS’ campaign book. Remember the drunk-driving accusation? It took W less time than this to come out, and come clean.

Herman… come out and come clean.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 9:52 AM

There was no “suit.” Be careful with your terminology. There were allegations made internally, and payments made to the women, and an agreement signed by them and Cain. It’s been kept quiet for 15 years, so Cain probably thought it would not come up in the campaign and if it did he could rely on legal language to avoid commenting on it. If there isn’t really anything he needs to “come clean” about, then he shouldn’t.

Politico says they have seen the papers. If there was anything approaching real sexual harrassment, i.e. Cain asking for sexual favors, you can bet it would have been in the article. At worst, Cain was insensitive and made some women feel uncomfortable.

rockmom on October 31, 2011 at 10:08 AM

OT: Cain raises $19 million.

andy85719 on October 31, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Link?

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Maybe this is like a Bill Clinton sexual harassment claim. He didn’t really harass all those women, right? Cain should hire George Stephanopolous to handle the bimbo eruptions…isn’t that what they called it? And he did a great job protecting Clinton. Sounds like Hermain Cain could use him on his campaign.

ramrants on October 31, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Fair enough.

But it does appear there was a settlement, and it does appear that money changed hands.

Time to own up to whatever happened…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Severance package =/= Settlement

“Settlement” implies that something saw the inside of a courtroom. This issue, whatever it is, did not.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:09 AM

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:08 AM

You do realize that if the women paid him, he couldn’t talk about that either…so was the settlement that he paid them or they paid him?
And with the settlement contract, neither can discuss it…

right2bright on October 31, 2011 at 10:09 AM

And another point. These types of suits always come with a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements.

Key West Reader on October 31, 2011 at 10:09 AM

I’ve been voting since the 40′s. Herman Cain was my choice when he was the first to enter the political arena and he is my choice now. I will be sending a check to his campaign fund within the hour.
Mr Cain bears no resemblance to the late t Kennedy, b Clinton or bho.

dragondrop on October 31, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Cain could use him on his campaign.

ramrants on October 31, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Tell us what he is accused of? So far nothing, Politico doesn’t even know, they just threw this out, and so far they are stating their are no facts…

right2bright on October 31, 2011 at 10:10 AM

I had an Master Sergeant (Air Force) working for me at a Major Air Force base in the early 80′s. He was showing two new members of his section, female, how to drive the flight line when another vehicle cut him off. He reflexively gave the other driver the universal road sign. Before it was all done he was being Court Martialed for sexual harassment. Suffice to say it ruined his career. What a world we live in.

chemman on October 31, 2011 at 10:05 AM

I have a friend who was summarily fired after 17 years from a very senior executive job at a major U.S. company because he replied “LOL” to an e-mail that contained some suggestive language.

rockmom on October 31, 2011 at 10:11 AM

It’s been kept quiet for 15 years, so Cain probably thought it would not come up in the campaign and if it did he could rely on legal language to avoid commenting on it. If there isn’t really anything he needs to “come clean” about, then he shouldn’t.

rockmom on October 31, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Except it has come up in the campaign. And he’s known for at least ten days that it was going to come up in the campaign.

And they weren’t prepared for it.

And, in the midst of a firestorm, is it really your advice to HC that he clam up over a nothingburger story?

That is singularly poor advice… if in fact it is a nothingburger story.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:11 AM

As a guy who has been accused of harassment myself, I can tell you that can be absolutely ANYTHING. It doesn’t have to be sexual in nature in the slightest for a man to be a sacrificial lamb.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Absolutely correct gryphon. You can overhear someone in a private conversation say something that you don’t like, and that can be harassment. Or let’s say you work in the oil and gas industry and you’ve got a much older employee who comments that a woman looks nice that day. That can be sexual harassment, which is absurd. When my mother died several years ago, my former male boss hugged me (it was a very family like company) when I told him. Again, courts could construe that as harassment. But the left will beat this to a disgusting pulp, just like they did with Thomas.

TxAnn56 on October 31, 2011 at 10:12 AM

And, in the midst of a firestorm, is it really your advice to HC that he clam up over a nothingburger story?

That is singularly poor advice… if in fact it is a nothingburger story.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:11 AM

He may not have a choice, per the terms of the severance agreement (and let’s call it what it is folks; it’s not a “settlement” of any kind). It’s not all of a sudden null-and-void just because an interested party squawks to the press.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:12 AM

You do realize that if the women paid him, he couldn’t talk about that either…so was the settlement that he paid them or they paid him?
And with the settlement contract, neither can discuss it…

right2bright on October 31, 2011 at 10:09 AM

If they paid him (are you really serious about following this line of logic?), then he could certainly afford the maximum $200k to return the money, and clear his good name in the midst of a campaign.

Now, don’t you think that would be $200k well spent?

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:12 AM

And another point. These types of suits always come with a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements.

Key West Reader on October 31, 2011 at 10:09 AM

ALWAYS….it is a non issue, it has been settled by two parties.
You know, I bet Cain yelled at someone, and they shook hands and settled it the next day…another politico story, and another story that johngalt wants full disclosure of….HAHAHAHA!

right2bright on October 31, 2011 at 10:13 AM

As a guy who has been accused of harassment myself, I can tell you that can be absolutely ANYTHING. It doesn’t have to be sexual in nature in the slightest for a man to be a sacrificial lamb.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Fine. If it is as innocent as you imply, he loses nothing by clearing the air.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Now, don’t you think that would be $200k well spent?

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:12 AM

You tell us what he is accused of…that was my point…so far no one has accused him of anything.
So you tell us, what is he accused of?
…and to answer your question, regarding my “scenario”, no he can’t because the settlement contract and non-disclosure would not allow that…it would have “damages” and him bringing this out would cause untold damages far beyond the few thousand…

right2bright on October 31, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Fine. If it is as innocent as you imply, he loses nothing by clearing the air.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Except that he would have to violate a non-disclosure agreement to do it. That’s not “losing nothing.” AND…some of his supporters and detractors alike could just as easily turn around and wonder, “Why is Cain being so defensive all of a sudden?” Responding to these charges in a politically charged environment is a damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don’t sort of proposition. If it was as simple as you imply, no one would still be talking about this.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Herman Cain
From Team HC: Be sure to watch Mr. Cain on FOX News Happening Now today at 11:15am Eastern!

From his FB page.
I have that set to record.

pambi on October 31, 2011 at 10:16 AM

“Settlement” implies that something saw the inside of a courtroom. This issue, whatever it is, did not.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Nonsense. Google “out of court settlement”.

What it looks like… what it sounds like… is “hush money”. You can parse that to the point Bill Clinton would be proud… but it still looks like hush money.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:16 AM

If it is so innocent… let him come clean on it.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:06 AM

This is the game the media wants us to play — imposing “burden of innocence” on Cain. Not good.

Those with business experience understand the murkiness and possible meaningless of this story. Politico is counting on ignorance. It is a kind of journalistic abuse entirely typical today.

Settlements are not uncommon. Corporations do this. A couple of women could have claimed a remark made them “uncomfortable.” What is the standard for this, and what Human Resource department would seriously contest it rather than recommend a settlement and be done with it. It is the nature of the beast.

rrpjr on October 31, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Herman Cains reply is that “Herman be Herman” just a minute ago on Fox News

ohhhh nooooo…..

EricPWJohnson on October 31, 2011 at 10:16 AM

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Answer the question…What is he accused of?

right2bright on October 31, 2011 at 10:17 AM

And how long did it take Politico to give creedence to the true stories involving John Edwards?

Politico shills for Obama (and Romney, who Team Obama wants to face next November) as much as E.J. Dionne pimps Obama.

I look at Politico, but I take it with a grain of salt – kind of like PoHuff.

molonlabe28 on October 31, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Except that he would have to violate a non-disclosure agreement to do it.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Fine. Pay the penalty. He’s a rich man who wants to be POTUS, in the middle of a top-of-Drudge firestorm.

Or go along with weak-sauce excuses about how you don’t want to violate an NDA, but it really was innocent.

Really.

No, really.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:18 AM

right2bright

If these women had nothing to do with leaking this story to the media and all these facts were taken from the paperwork Politico received from someone else..

Would it change your opinions at all?

EricPWJohnson on October 31, 2011 at 10:19 AM

I have a lot of problems with Politico’s story here, but it does underscore why I would not be comfortable with Cain as the nominee. He’s never run for elective office, not been vetted really, so there may be lots of unknown skeletons in that closet…a presidential run is a heckuva time for those to come out.

I’m withholding judgment on these claims at the moment, though. We know there were settlements, anyway.

changer1701 on October 31, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Answer the question…What is he accused of?

right2bright on October 31, 2011 at 10:17 AM

I can’t answer that question.

Maybe you’d like to pose it to the candidate himself?

Of course, he’d probably tell you it was a joke, and the women needed to get a sense of humor…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Nonsense. Google “out of court settlement”.

What it looks like… what it sounds like… is “hush money”. You can parse that to the point Bill Clinton would be proud… but it still looks like hush money.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:16 AM

“Looks like…” =/= “is.”

The optics of this story are exactly why it got floated on Politico without a single named source, and with literally scores of named sources willing to go on the record defending Herman Cain. To believe that Herman Cain owes us an explanation in clear violation of an NDA he was party to is accepting a premise that I personally reject.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:22 AM

This is the game the media wants us to play — imposing “burden of innocence” on Cain. Not good.

rrpjr on October 31, 2011 at 10:16 AM

He had ten days to tamp this down. He did nothing.

Now he gets to answer the questions with the heat on.

Or, not answer them, and just let the heat continue to rise…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:22 AM

“Looks like…” =/= “is.”

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:22 AM

That your cracker-jack political advice, is it?

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:23 AM

I would suspect that Cain has to honor the NDA just as much as the women in this story. He probably has to wait to see if these women actually broke the NDA first themselves before saying anything himself for fear of legal reprisals.

AverageJoe on October 31, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Absolutely correct. Thank you for pointing this out.

And if it turns out that the accusers or their attorneys are the ones who are bringing this out now, I would hope Cain would sue them for violating the non-disclosure agreement.

UltimateBob on October 31, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Fine. Pay the penalty. He’s a rich man who wants to be POTUS, in the middle of a top-of-Drudge firestorm.

Or go along with weak-sauce excuses about how you don’t want to violate an NDA, but it really was innocent.

Really.

No, really.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:18 AM

By your own admission, given how little you know about what is in that NDA, you are really being a piece of work.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Cain should have addressed the issue immediately with Jonathan Martin and should have talked with Geraldo himself. What a disaster. :-(

Punchenko on October 31, 2011 at 10:25 AM

That your cracker-jack political advice, is it?

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:23 AM

No. It’s my appraisal of this situation as a voter.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:25 AM

And if it turns out that the accusers or their attorneys are the ones who are bringing this out now, I would hope Cain would sue them for violating the non-disclosure agreement.

UltimateBob on October 31, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Yes… a lawsuit, stemming from possible sexual harrassment claims, being waged in the middle of presidential camapign.

Solid advice there…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Yes… a lawsuit, stemming from possible sexual harrassment claims, being waged in the middle of presidential camapign.

Solid advice there…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Yeah. But your advice to violate an NDA is sooooooooo much more solid, Champ. LOLOLOL

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:26 AM

He had ten days to tamp this down. He did nothing.

Now he gets to answer the questions with the heat on.

Or, not answer them, and just let the heat continue to rise…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Why do you believe anything Politico says? They may have simply been leaving messages on some press flunky’s voice mail for 10 days.

rockmom on October 31, 2011 at 10:27 AM

By your own admission, given how little you know about what is in that NDA, you are really being a piece of work.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:25 AM

All I need to know is that it is a story that broke approximately 12 hours ago, is being covered by over two thousand journalistic outlets, and shows little sign of abatement.

But if Herm wants the possibility of the accusation of “sexual predator” hanging over his head through the primaries… hey, have at it champ!

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:28 AM

The Politico isn’t showing its hand is telling that they don’t have the complete goods on Cain in some way. This must not be a public record which means even the women may have reason not to have it tried in the court of public opinion. Cain’s non-answer makes me feel he settled out of court to avoid dragging the Restaurant Association through a real live lawsuit and in return receive their blessing that if it went away he wasn’t going to ever answer for it in any way. Business decision by Cain and the Restaurant Association that Cain cannot deny took place even though he didn’t do anything the women claim.

Conan on October 31, 2011 at 10:28 AM

They may have simply been leaving messages on some press flunky’s voice mail for 10 days.

rockmom on October 31, 2011 at 10:27 AM

And you think that that somehow speaks to management skills worthy of a nominee of outr party for POTUS?

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:30 AM

All I need to know is that it is a story that broke approximately 12 hours ago, is being covered by over two thousand journalistic outlets, and shows little sign of abatement.

But if Herm wants the possibility of the accusation of “sexual predator” hanging over his head through the primaries… hey, have at it champ!

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Well have fun advancing that narrative, lack of any evidence whatsoever — circumstantial or otherwise — to the contrary.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Absolutely correct. Thank you for pointing this out.

And if it turns out that the accusers or their attorneys are the ones who are bringing this out now, I would hope Cain would sue them for violating the non-disclosure agreement.

UltimateBob on October 31, 2011 at 10:24 AM

I would be surprised if the women even had attorneys at the time. All you have to do is complain to HR and threaten to hire an attorney and they start throwing money at you.

I was once laid off when I was 7 1/2 months pregnant. I made a little noise about it and got double the severance they gave everyone else. It was a “five figure settlement” if I wanted to be sensational about it. Never hired an attorney.

rockmom on October 31, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Yeah. But your advice to violate an NDA is sooooooooo much more solid, Champ. LOLOLOL

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Hmmmmm… breaking an NDA, or hiding your sexual proclivities behind it…

Yeah, I’m pretty sure which path I’d have my candidate follow….

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:31 AM

They may have simply been leaving messages on some press flunky’s voice mail for 10 days.

rockmom on October 31, 2011 at 10:27 AM

And you think that that somehow speaks to management skills worthy of a nominee of outr party for POTUS?

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Hell, the dems nominated a credibly accused sexual harasser and rapist who won TWICE. Assuming the worst is true about Herman Cain, it’s weak sauce now.

/yawn

BTW, anyone hear how John Edwards and his [love] child are doing these days?

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Well have fun advancing that narrative, lack of any evidence whatsoever — circumstantial or otherwise — to the contrary.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Once again, gryphon, neither I nor any responsible Republican will have to do so.

The press, I’m reasonably sure, will be quite happy to do it, all on their own…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:33 AM

As a Woman, if I were sexually harassed I would be more interested in justice rather than a payoff. This whole thing stinks to high Heaven.

Conservalicious on October 31, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Hmmmmm… breaking an NDA, or hiding your sexual proclivities behind it…

Yeah, I’m pretty sure which path I’d have my candidate follow….

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Hey, man. All I can do is tell a candidate what they have to do to get my vote. I know it’s amateur hour for would-be political advisers around here, but that’s not how ol’ Gryph rolls.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:33 AM

The Politico isn’t showing its hand is telling that they don’t have the complete goods on Cain in some way. This must not be a public record which means even the women may have reason not to have it tried in the court of public opinion. Cain’s non-answer makes me feel he settled out of court to avoid dragging the Restaurant Association through a real live lawsuit and in return receive their blessing that if it went away he wasn’t going to ever answer for it in any way. Business decision by Cain and the Restaurant Association that Cain cannot deny took place even though he didn’t do anything the women claim.

Conan on October 31, 2011 at 10:28 AM

It does sound like Politico has seen the papers but doesn’t have them in its possession. The person who showed them the papers may have exacted an agreement limiting what Politico could write about. But I still think if there were really serious allegations they would have been in the story. This is a classic trumped-up story and sleazy journalism.

rockmom on October 31, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Once again, gryphon, neither I nor any responsible Republican will have to do so.

The press, I’m reasonably sure, will be quite happy to do it, all on their own…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Then I’m sure you’ll be tickled pink to keep your powder dry until you see how this shakes out. Too bad that ship has already sailed…

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:34 AM

EricPWJohnson on October 31, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Eric Johnson’s replay in 1997, “was it rape rape?”

So tell us, chumplett? Why do you feel the need to make up quotes? We all know Cain hasn’t been on Fox News yet. Does a piece of trash such as yourself really think anyone here will believe a made up quote, from a made up appearance?

MNHawk on October 31, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Ed, you have obviously never been charged with or threatened with a charge of sexual harassment. There is no practical defense unless the charger says it happened at a time and place where you have eye witnesses. If she claims it was on an elevator with just the 2 of you or in your office, it is her word against yours.

Talk to a lawyer that handles sexual harassment and ask what he would recommend his client do? I’m talking about his client being the one charged with harassment. He would suggest they settle out of court and get it out of the way. That even with an eyewitness, there is no way to know how a jury will react, and juries have a history of believing the woman in these type of cases.

So it is likely Herman said or did something that the women took as sexual harassment. Race may have played into it. Maybe the women had been abused or recently divorced or in a bad relationship or whatever. The point is they interpreted Cain’s actions in view of their own life experiences and saw it as harassment. Maybe it was sexual harassment, but if it was, do 2 charges from 20 years ago indicate that Cain learned from the experience?

They settled out of court so there is no guilt or innocence established. For those who think he is guilty because he refused to go to court, I’m sure his legal advisors suggested he settle and get the situation behind him.

It is really a shame that now the media is going to replay this as smear politics. It is unfair to all involved.

huckleberryfriend on October 31, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Hell, the dems nominated a credibly accused sexual harasser and rapist who won TWICE. Assuming the worst is true about Herman Cain, it’s weak sauce now.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Once again, cracker-jack political advice, clearly.

And I assure you, no Clinton staffer left messages from the press unattended for ten minutes, much less ten days.

Of course, that is something that successful candidates and campaigns do.

Successful book hustlers on the other hand… why, their phone calls can go unanswered for days…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:35 AM

First of all, if the woman did not file a formal complaint with the EEOC or a state or the DC human rights agency, I guarantee the settlement documents will admit ZERO about liability on sexual harassment.

Second, it is also true that if they had a case that was winnable, they would have filed it, because the settlement would have been more than $99k.

So unless Cain personally paid a settlement, it is mere allegations and even the allegations, so far reported, would have not met the legal standard and would have been defeated in court,

georgealbert on October 31, 2011 at 10:36 AM

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Coming from someone who never really cared for Cain in the first place?

I’m done on this thread. Everything you have to say on this subject, I am taking it all with a fist-sized grain of salt. Have a nice day, JG.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:36 AM

I can’t answer that question.

Maybe you’d like to pose it to the candidate himself?

Of course, he’d probably tell you it was a joke, and the women needed to get a sense of humor…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:20 AM

That’s right, and Politico can’t answer that also…
When someone says they didn’t do anything, how do they prove that?
If I state you molested children, how do you prove that? By saying you didn’t? What evidence can you present that shows you never molested a child?
If you don’t come up with evidence that you never molested a child, we all have to assume you are a child molester.
Please, we will wait for your evidence to show you are not guilty…

right2bright on October 31, 2011 at 10:36 AM

As a Woman, if I were sexually harassed I would be more interested in justice rather than a payoff. This whole thing stinks to high Heaven.

Conservalicious on October 31, 2011 at 10:33 AM

To be fair, in those days a lot of women thought it would damage their careers to publicly claim sexual harrassment. Nearly all trade association CEOs then were men.

rockmom on October 31, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Then I’m sure you’ll be tickled pink to keep your powder dry until you see how this shakes out. Too bad that ship has already sailed…

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:34 AM

No, I’m not going to let a very serious candidate for the nomination of my political party stand by and engage in strategy that, should he get the nomination, would likely spell defeat for my party next year.

And if that appears unfair… well, welcome to the bigs, kid.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Cain says he will address accusations on air.

andy85719 on October 31, 2011 at 10:38 AM

When someone says they didn’t do anything, how do they prove that?

right2bright on October 31, 2011 at 10:36 AM

A good place to start is with the relative paperwork…

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Cain says he will address accusations on air.

andy85719 on October 31, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Yay! I better get some popcorn. Will he address the accusations of Fox this afternoon?

Punchenko on October 31, 2011 at 10:40 AM

After his threat to make our TV’s bleed, is this from the Perry campaign?

csdeven on October 31, 2011 at 10:40 AM

As a Romney fan (disclaimer), I hope it is NOT true and his best move would be to clear the matter up in whatever way he can legally and professionally. If it comes out or the women do actually come forward and it is shown he was covering up, even if it was inconsequential, then the coverup, as we know, is always worse than the actual facts.

g2825m on October 31, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Will he address the accusations of Fox this afternoon?

Punchenko on October 31, 2011 at 10:40 AM

From Team HC: Be sure to watch Mr. Cain on FOX News Happening Now today at 11:15am Eastern!

About a half hour, according to my FB page.

MNHawk on October 31, 2011 at 10:41 AM

We saw what happened to Weiner….

g2825m on October 31, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Responding to these charges in a politically charged environment is a damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don’t sort of proposition. If it was as simple as you imply, no one would still be talking about this.

gryphon202 on October 31, 2011 at 10:15 AM

That is the problem for Cain. This story is pretty weak right now so it doesn’t deserve much of a response. If more details come out then Cain might be forced to give a definitive statement.

I really don’t know the best way to respond. I imagine it would be a good idea to be clear and final about the facts but then I don’t know about violating any agreement. This is a nightmare for the Cain campaign.

Bill C on October 31, 2011 at 10:42 AM

First of all, if the woman did not file a formal complaint with the EEOC or a state or the DC human rights agency, I guarantee the settlement documents will admit ZERO about liability on sexual harassment.

Second, it is also true that if they had a case that was winnable, they would have filed it, because the settlement would have been more than $99k.

So unless Cain personally paid a settlement, it is mere allegations and even the allegations, so far reported, would have not met the legal standard and would have been defeated in court,

georgealbert on October 31, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Exactly. It’s hard to win a case at EEOC or DCHRA. I filed one in my situation and was rejected. The burden of proof is pretty high. But I did get a “five figure settlement” from the organization in the form of extended severance and disability payments.

I have also signed termination agreements and they are pretty ironclad that the organization can sue you to return the money if you talk about the settlement or bad-mouth the employer in any way.

rockmom on October 31, 2011 at 10:43 AM

I really don’t know the best way to respond. I imagine it would be a good idea to be clear and final about the facts but then I don’t know about violating any agreement. This is a nightmare for the Cain campaign.

Bill C on October 31, 2011 at 10:42 AM

The best way to respond is usually: early, honestly, and completely.

JohnGalt23 on October 31, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Let’s see, latest anti Cain troll list addition:JohnGalt23

Punchenko, Honda v65,csdeven, and Johngalt23

Hard Right on October 31, 2011 at 10:43 AM

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