Quotes of the day

“Allegations that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain sexually harassed women in the 1990s have begun to damage his bid for the White House, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

“The poll showed the percentage of Republicans who view Cain favorably dropped 9 percentage points, to 57 percent from 66 percent a week ago…

“A majority of respondents, 53 percent, believe sexual harassment allegations against Cain are true despite his denials. Republicans were less likely to believe they are true, with 39 percent thinking they are accurate.”

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“By any normal rules of politics, Cain should be toast. So what’s going on?

“Simply put, the media and Cain’s detractors have over-played their hand. By Friday night, Politico, which broke the original story, had published 94 articles on the allegations in under six days. Every other major publication had followed suit. Every time he stepped out of a room, Cain was mobbed by reporters…

“Cain’s very amateurishness became almost endearing. Rather than mouthing slick talking points, Cain got angry with the journalists (a profession loathed by most Republican activists) and claimed that he was the victim of a ‘high-tech lynching.'”

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“[Ed Gillespie] also said he thought Republicans perceived liberals as having a ‘special disdain for black conservatives’ – and that, consequently, ‘they feel that there’s an unfairness that is at play here.’

“‘So I think that actually, you know, this is not as damaging to Herman Cain,’ he said, adding that because this was shaping up to be an ‘unconventional’ year in politics, ‘you’re not seeing yet as much damage as you would expect in other years or with other campaigns.’…

“‘Even though it’s an unconventional campaign with an unconventional candidate, Republicans want to win,’ Rollins said. ‘We want a candidate who can go up against Obama and beat him.’ Rollins said he did not believe Cain has answered the questions correctly, ‘or has seen the last of this.'”

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“While describing Mr. Cain as ‘a decent, decent man,’ Mr. Huntsman went on to say, ‘It’s up to Herman Cain to get the information out and get it out in total.’ He said that the intense attention to the harassment allegations was ‘taking all the bandwidth out of the discussion,’ so that the Republican candidates were unable to discuss the economy, foreign policy and other pressing issues…

“[A]nother prominent Republican, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, made a similar point.

“‘Bad news is not like fine wine — it doesn’t improve with age,’ he said, paraphrasing a quote from Henry A. Kissinger. Mr. Barbour, who himself had considered a presidential run this year, said it was vital for Mr. Cain to ‘get all the facts on the table, get it behind him.’

“‘There’s no way you could say it’s been good for him,’ said Mr. Barbour. He added that Mr. Cain ‘needs to get all the cards on the table, face-up.'”

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“‘Everyone loves him. Who doesn’t? He has a great personality, but this is the leader of the free world we’re talking about,’ Bachmann said in an interview with conservative radio host Scott Hennan, set to air Monday…

“‘I think the real problem is how inconsistent he’s been on the issues… There’s been 10 instances in the last month where he’s changed his position on significant issues. On the issue of pro-life, he said the government shouldn’t intervene to protect life then he switched and said, ‘no they shouldn’t.”…

“Stingingly, she said when asked of Cain: ‘People are looking for an adult in the room.'”

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“He’s not going to be the nominee, if I can just be honest here for a minute. He was never going to be the nominee. The support for him, I think, was a symbol of conservative and Republican distrust of some of the frontrunners, willingness to reward someone for being bold, for having comprehensive reform plans, for being an outsider, but I think the air is slowly going to go out of the Herman Cain bubble regardless of the sexual harassment charges.”

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“‘We are getting back on message, end of story. Back on message. Read all of the other accounts, read all the accounts, where everything has been answered in a story. We’re getting back on message,’ he said…

“The only hint of the recent controversy surrounding Cain’s candidacy came at the end of the debate, when Gingrich asked if anything surprised the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza about running for president.

“‘There are too many people in the media who are downright dishonest,’ he said to applause.”