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.


FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    Yay! Fratricide!

  2. Bleev K says:

    What?! Rick Perry is still in the race?!

  3. So…Cain is now admitting he lied initially when he said he didn’t know anything about the allegations?

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    LAME STREAM MEDIA!!!!!! them gudddamn libruls r out to git me…. Well…. maybe it is my GOP rivals….

    YA THINK??????

  5. michael reynolds says:

    I love that businessmen think they’re tougher than all those politicians, think the biz world is the real manly man arena and politics is for the slow and the weak.

    What do you think now, Herman? Not quite as easy as it looks, is it?

  6. Nick says:

    Herman Cain: I Can’t Prove It, But These Allegations Are Racist (VIDEO)


    Racist allegations coming from Rick Perry’s camp? Say it ain’t so!

  7. mattb says:

    I’ve been thinking Perry pretty much from the beginning. As I said on a different thread, Romney has nothing to gain from this. My guess is his people want Cain in the lead for as long as possible as they’re betting that, just as with McCain in the Primary in 2008, when push comes to shove more people will reluctantly pull the lever for Romney come the primaries.

    Perry on the other hand is the individual most disproportionately hurt by Cain.

    @Nick, what’s interesting about Cain’s previous spin is the lengths that he went to initially point to democrats (in other words, being a good soldier). My suspicion is as this starts to stick — which it looks like it might just — he will go harder and harder after Perry, as now it’s both personal and Cain will want to make sure he takes Perry down with him.

    Or it could just be Cain lacks the discipline to ever stay on message when there’s a live mike near by.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    I suspect Cain is a reflexive liar. He now says that he sat down with a campaign manager and told him about the incident. Even if that conversation took place eight years ago it strains credulity to think that he had forgotten all about it, as he initially claimed. If he had thought even for a moment, he would realize how bad an idea it was to lie about it.

  9. PJ says:

    I believe Limbaugh is right, this has Romney’s paws all over it.

    If Romney ends up winning the nomination, we can only hope that Limbaugh will start a campaign for a real conservative third party candidate.


  10. mattb says:


    I believe Limbaugh is right, this has Romney’s paws all over it.

    Last I heard, Limbaugh was saying this was all the Democrats fault as they are the real racists and the ones really afraid of Cain.

    Personally, I say keep going after Romney Rush! Personally, I think he’s rooting for an Obama win as that makes his job (and his ratings) easier.

  11. Moosebreath says:

    Let’s assume Cain is right, and Perry’s campaign is behind this. So what? Is it any less of a story? Are the allegations any more or any less true? As the old saying goes, politics ain’t beanbag.

    And does anyone think that if (heaven forfend) Cain becomes President, other countries won’t hatch underhanded plots against the US? If Cain can’t handle something like this, it’s even more clear he’s not ready for prime time.

  12. HankP says:

    I think this picture says it all.

  13. anjin-san says:

    I love that businessmen think they’re tougher than all those politicians, think the biz world is the real manly man arena and politics is for the slow and the weak.

    You have to wonder how Donald Trump felt as Obama scraped him off the bottom of his shoe.

  14. Anonne says:

    It feels dirty like Perry, greasy like Romney, and opportunistic like Bachmann, but it is really insidious like Gingrich! Newt is the one benefiting most from the debacle anyway.

  15. Pug says:


    I’m sure Obama’s campaign loves your idea for a third party candidante endorsed by Rush Limbaugh.