Herman Cain acted swiftly to put an end to speculation over the story about sexual-harassment claims during his tenure at the National Restaurant Association. After a few hours of confused response, Cain admitted that he had been accused, but falsely, of inappropriate conduct. He claimed that an investigation of those accusations showed at the time that they were “baseless,” and he seemed surprised by the news that the trade group settled the claims. “I hope it wasn’t for much,” Cain told Fox News, “because nothing happened”:
“I have never sexually harassed anyone, but yes, I was falsely accused while I was at the National Restaurant Association,” he said.
He added that he does not know that a settlement was paid out against the two complainants, and said “If more allegations come, I assure you that people will simply make them up.”
“The only other allegations will be trumped up allegations,” he said.
This is a much better response than the one offered last night in response to the Politico story. It acknowledges that Cain had to deal with accusations, and puts him on the record with a strong denial specific to them. Unless Politico reveals more about the nature of the complaints and the women involved come forward, this will likely be enough to keep Cain in the game, as it’s doubtful that voters will give much credence to the vague nature of the allegations — unless they get a lot less vague, and unless more people come forward with complaints, assuming they can credibly do so.
Fox also asked about a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about possible campaign finance irregularities. I’ll have more on that later, but that hits Cain’s staff rather than Cain himself.