Contrasts in responses to the Cain sexual harassment allegations

posted at 6:40 pm on October 31, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Herman Cain this morning told Fox News’ Jenna Lee that the sexual assault charge against him, reported by Politico this weekend, was “totally baseless and totally false.” But, before the candidate himself spoke up, pundits and politicians started to cast their own spin on the story. The reactions of three prominent figures — each exactly what you would expect — are a study in contrasts and a reminder of just how powerfully we all view the top items of the day through the prisms of our own pre-formed opinions and personalities.

First, the firebrand:

Ann Coulter reacted in typically incensed fashion, but her outrage didn’t seem to obscure her thinking. On “Geraldo at Large” last night, Coulter released a series of incisive, infuriated remarks.

“I am spitting mad about this attack on Herman Cain,” she said, after first decrying the left’s long history of false accusations of sexual misconduct. “Liberals are terrified of Herman Cain. He is a strong conservative black man. Look at the way they go after Allen West and Michael Steele and they aren’t even running against Obama. They are terrified of strong, conservative, black men.”

Next, the perpetual adviser:

Karl Rove, on the other hand, this morning couldn’t resist giving a little of his own advice to Herman Cain, who, again, at the point of Rove’s comments, had not yet responded directly to the Politico article.

“He’s not denying, but he ain’t responding and that’s not the best place to be,” Rove said. “If these allegations are not true, say they aren’t true and put it behind you. If not, better get everything out sooner rather than later because in a situation like this, if there is something there, that something’s going to come out.”

Rove was particularly troubled by the Cain camp’s apparent unwillingness to answer whether a settlement of any kind had been made. In his remarks today, Cain still did not clear up that question, but again referred the curious to the National Restaurant Association.

Finally, the independent:

Joe Lieberman told Laura Ingraham today he thinks we’d all be better served if we just waited on this story a bit — let the facts emerge before analysis takes place:

“Well, I think the important thing is that nobody should come to any conclusions quickly,” he said. “I think there’ll have to be more that comes out for this to really have an effect.”

As it’s impossible to analyze vaporous nothings, that seems like pretty sound counsel to me. Even now, with the composite of information we’ve received throughout the day, the best response still seems to be: Wait and see.


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