Herman Cain Changes Subject, Blames Perry Campaign For Leak
The Cain campaign appears to have decided to respond to the stories swirling around their candidate by pointing fingers at the Rick Perry campaign:
Was the recent attack on Herman Cain’s presidential campaign a professional hit job? Absolutely, says Herman Cain. And he says he knows just where to look for the guy who did it: At 815 Slaters Lane in Alexandria, Virginia, a low-slung former warehouse in the shadow of a coal plant.
There, beside rusting rail lines, is the home of OnMessage Inc., a Republican-leaning consulting firm recently hired to bolster Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign.
One of the firm’s partners, Curt Anderson, worked on Cain’s losing 2004 U.S. Senate campaign. Cain thinks he’s the hired political gun who leaked details to Politico, a Washington trade publication, of alleged “sexually suggestive behavior” Cain is said to have exhibited towards two women while he ran the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. That story set off a media frenzy which has quickly put Cain’s campaign on the defense.
In the summer of 2003, Cain recalls briefing Anderson—his general campaign consultant at the time—that sexual harassment claims were brought against him while he was chairman of the National Restaurant Association from 1996 to 1999.
“I told my wife about this in 1999 and I’ve got nothing to hide,” Cain told me Wednesday. “When I sat down with my general campaign consultant Curt Anderson in a private room in our campaign offices in 2003 we discussed opposition research on me. It was a typical campaign conversation. I told him that there was only one case, one set of charges, one woman while I was at the National Restaurant Association. Those charges were baseless, but I thought he needed to know about them. I don’t recall anyone else being in the room when I told him.”
Anderson has denied that he was the source of the story, and the Perry campaign says that it had no involvement in the matter. That isn’t stopping Cain’s people, though. This evening on Fox News, Mark Block said that the Perry campaign owes an apology to Cain, his campaign, and his family. Frankly, I think we’re beyond the point where who leaked this matters. What was leaked — that there were allegations of sexual harassment made against Herman Cain in the 1990s while he was at the National Restaurant Association — is now known to be true and acknowledged as such by the Cain campaign. The next, inevitable, question is the story behind those allegations and, at this point, we are on a path that makes it largely inevitable that we will find those details out in relatively short order.