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New Sexual Allegations Likely the End of Cain

Updated 2:28 pm ET

The story running in POLITICO today saying that the National Restaurant Association settled in the late 1990s with two women who alleged sexual harassment by Herman Cain, then president of the trade group, likely signals the end of the Cain campaign.

Not necessarily right away. But since the the charges of a payoff appear to be true, and given the strong family values sentiment among Republicans who form the base of Cain’s support, his candidacy would appear doomed.

There are several reasons why this is such a big deal.

1. The allegations are enormously serious. If true, and I believe they are, they mean that Herman Cain essentially paid hush money to two women who agreed after receiving at least $10,000 not to talk about what happened. Two women at an essentially conservative association. Not one.

2. If the sexual harassment allegations themselves are true, this is probably not the first and only time Cain has done this. Such behavior connotes a character flaw that is hard to suppress and that, particularly after a couple of cocktails, rears its head again and again. We’ll likely be hearing more instances of such behavior by Mr. Cain if he harassed these women.

3. The Cain campaign is not denying the charges of a payoff. It is instead trying to smear the people who reported it. From a Cain campaign statement:

Fearing the message of Herman Cain who is shaking up the political landscape in Washington, Inside the Beltway media have begun to launch unsubstantiated personal attacks on Cain, dredging up thinly sourced allegations stemming from Mr. Cain’s tenure as the Chief Executive Officer at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, political trade press are now casting aspersions on his character and spreading rumors that never stood up to the facts.

OKAY, THEN WHY NOT SAY IT DIDN’T HAPPEN? Geraldo put on his veteran reporter’s hat and tried to get a denial last night from Cain’s spokesman. He couldn’t.

Pathetic amateurism. The Cain people need to put all the facts on the table, right away. The facts will all come out anyway, and now they are going to look dishonest.

4. Don’t believe what you will hear from some of the conservative media. This is not a left-wing hit job. I know several people involved in the reporting and editing of this story, and that’s not how they operate.

The lead reporter on the story, Jonathan Martin, is famous around the White House press room for confronting Obama with tough, on-the-record questions when the president had dropped into the press area for an off the record schmooze. He never came back.

Martin is a reporter’s reporter who insatiably seeks news wherever he can find it.

Here’s Martin with Cain yesterday:

Politico took its time with the piece, sought and failed to receive direct responses from the Cain campaign over a period of ten days, got its information from multiple sources, and viewed documentation of the settlements. This is not a hatchet job.

I have no question that there is liberal bias in the media, and that the failure of the MSM to report the John Edwards affair was in part due to sympathy for his political positions.

But this is a serious story containing serious allegations suggesting a character flaw in the leading GOP candidate. Conservatives and Republican primary voters would be deeply mistaken to dismiss it, and do so at their own peril.

I thought Cain was treated unfairly with respect to his statements on abortion. Not this time.

Looking forward to hearing what you think.

H/T to Riehl World View where I saw the Geraldo video.

UPDATE: This story was updated to reflect my intent to say that the charge was likely correct that women were paid off by the National Restaurant Association to be quiet about what happened. I cannot know obviously whether the charges of sexual harassment itself are correct, though payments made to two women so that they would not talk about the case raise serious concerns and suspicions.

94 thoughts on “New Sexual Allegations Likely the End of Cain”

  1. Admittedly a stretch of an analogy but Herman has always been waiting for his Howard Dean, “AAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!” moment. This might be it.

    1. Ah come for Pete’s sake, we have bigger problems. Kim and Kris Humphries are divorcing and the Kardashian empire might crumble for lack of credibility.

  2. I’m not a huge Cain fan. If he became the candidate I would vote for him, but I fear there are some cracks in his character that show through on occasion. However, they don’t really say what he did. I mean people these days can look at you wrong and it’s considered sexual harassment. I personally filed a sexual harassment case in 1987. My boss propositioned everything that walked and made sexual innuendo all the time, yet I couldn’t get one attorney to take this seriously. If this happened in the 90’s and older men like Cain grew up with thinking this was okay stuff to do, might it have been a case where he was told to settle and change his ways? Will we be hearing there have been more soon? If it’s a path he has continued down ala Bill Clinton, then yeah, this is he’s toast. But if he came to Jesus and has been a good upstanding conservative family man, then I don’t see the issue.

    1. I do remember his making some paternalistic Father Knows Best ref to the “wife”–how she stays home and makes a nice place for him to come between his many trips. I got a little ding-ding from the meter on that.

      1. Many people his age do have an old fashioned arrangment, and it works, apparantly: how many people these days stay married for forty years? NObody, unless the man is practically castrated.

        Mrs. Cain’s old fashioned values would be a relief from the gallumping, impertinent, self aggrandizing cow we now have for a FLOTUS.

        1. It will be 40 years for my husband and I this Christmas. Many years ago I was accused by a co-worker, who I beat out for a promotion fair and square, of shenanigans with the boss. My husband dismissed the charge right off the bat, but the effect that unsubstantiated accusation had on the work environment was very damaging. I have no patience for smear campaigns like this and it really makes me angry to see it happen to a good man like Herman Cain. Mrs. Cain isn’t running for the office of president, her husband is. She is his rock, just as my husband is my rock.

        2. Betty Ann, you make a wonderful point… maybe if a few more marriages were “old fashioned” the divorce rate wouldn’t be so high. My husband and I can’t wait till we are at a point that I can stay home and have my only job taking care of our home and us! That is not a bad thing.

  3. Geez, now I can’t wait to see what “reporter’s reporter” Martin can tell us about Obama’s past. You know, the stuff that he neglected to reveal in his “autobiographies” … how this C student with no “family name” got into top tier universities, how he afforded to go there as a kid wearing “thrift store clothes,” how he traveled to Pakistan as a 20yo “nobody” and managed to be invited to dine with the Pak president and high officials during that trip, the contents of his writings during college, his grades … you know, all the “little” things every other candidate would be (and are) forced to reveal. C’mon, Martin, you’re the man for the job … aren’t you?

    1. Exactly. Character flaws my ass – nobody’s perfect. This man is forthright, he speaks to truth, he owns it, makes no bones about it, period. He’s rocking the political boat, and someone doesn’t like it. He is not part of the good old boy system, and the Romney camp needs something to get rid of this upstart. If he says he was cleared of the allegations, then he was cleared. A man is said to harrass a woman he opens the door for these days.

      1. Amen bettyann! Getting ready to give my first donation to the presidential campaign. Mr. Herman Cain is an amazingly brave and honest man. He is the antithesis to Obama.

  4. Keith, this is the clearest explanation of this situation that I have read so far.
    Last night and watched Geraldo and because I detest him, I was upset at the accusation but maybe need to keep an open mind.
    Mr. Cain is not my candidate and never has been but I have admired him as a person.
    If this turns out to be true it will be very disappointing to many but the truth must be known to all.
    You would be a better judge of reporters than I am..or have been there in the White House.
    Thank you.

  5. I agree Keith, it appears to be true.Then it is evidence of a serious character flaw. I don´t think many appreciate a leader who is disrespectful to women. I also think it is good for the Republicans that this was discovered in time.

  6. As Mrs Compton stated, there is usually more to these cases/stories. I have been on the fringe of a sexual harassment complaint and there are many twists and turns that swirl around these things. I am interested in more information, and I am sure it will come out soon.

  7. I’ll wait to hear what Herman has to say. Know you have a relationship with Politico Keith, but in my opinion most of them are leftist, slimeball, WAPOS, washout journolistos. Herman has been wondering how long it would take for the lynching to begin, and here it is. Anita Hill redo. Makes me like Herman Cain even more because he is seen as such a threat to the campaigner in chief.

    1. You’re right Susan.
      Remember here recently Hillary was making fun of Herman for his 999 plan ?
      Somewhere, Bill is gloating over the fact that he was able to skate for so many years due to the fact that he had the double standard of the left wing wackos fully in his court.
      They destroyed Sarah Palin’s governorship by inundating her with frivolous lawsuits.
      Once they destroy Herman Cain, or try to, who’s next on their hit list ?

      1. I don’t know about Politico one way or the other–but I sure didn’t find him particularly enlightening on Greta and I am absolutely sure if someone in a trade assn paid something, he knew about it. I guarantee it. He backed and filled all day–he doesn’t remember their names. On bite me. I don’t really care–I will vote for anyone but Obama…but don’t play me and tell me it’s your “sense of humor.”

        1. Also–he said the one woman “left,” but got what amounted to severance…you don’t GET severance when you resign–was it hush money or a buyout or a nuisance payment? But not severance…or what amounted to it, etc.

  8. I was waiting for your response to this Keith, I thought for sure Cain was being Palinized until I read this. My question is this, why all anonymous sources?

    1. Moe – it’s a fair question. This is the type of story where people for obvious reasons don’t want to speak on the record. What you have to do as a reporter is get the best sources you can and then get them to independently confirm the information. Then you have to decide if the sources are reliable enough to go with. It’s a judgement call, to be sure.

  9. What kind of world is this where it is proper to Lynch a black man without a trial? I forgot he is a black conservative which somehow makes him the equivalent of Satin.

  10. They’re going to destroy each Republican candidate one by one…all the way down the line to the likely nominee Romney. I fear a year from now some “October Surprise” will sink Mitt’s chances and secure Barry’s re-election. Very depressing.

  11. You know, I can’t help but go back to the Clinton years… How many allegations of misconduct were there prior to the election, that he won? How long did the press sit on those stories and push them down off the headlines? And can we ever forget the whole Monica fiasco? The “I did not have sex with that woman!” comment? And yet, you still have those who defend him to their last breathe what a wonderful, great president he was. And of course there was the whole John Edwards thing, which he is currently on trial for misusing funds. Both of these men have done horrible things and LIED about them for a long time. And yet, the press leaves them alone. I also can’t help but think about Clarence Thomas and how he was treated for unsubstantiated claims. Just because they settled doesn’t mean that anything bad really happened. How often are law suits settled to make them go away? Until there are some names, facts and alot more information I am not going to convict the guy! He is the only out there saying anything that actually makes sense and that is a whole lot more important right now. Oh, and I really, really, really hate the double standard the press has! That is why I don’t believe half of what they say about Republicans and ALWAYS assume it is much worse if they are talking about a Democrat.

    1. Good points all. Charging sexual harrassment became a fad in the 90’s. All a woman had to do to ruin a man’s career was yell harrassment, and the money poured in: I saw it with my own eyes.

      1. I remember quite a few false accusations myself while in the military. We had one girl who got mad at her supervisor because he actually expected her to work and she cried harrassment. She was the one who ended up court martialed! So to say that their was a suit I believe, to say that he actually did it, has yet to have any evidence.

  12. If every man who made an inappropriate or sexist remark to a woman not his wife were to be interred, well, Valentine’s Day would just be Feb 14th again.
    Assuming the charges are true, so what?
    Agressive males are the ones who end up as CEO’s and the POTUS. Most of our previous Presidents were notorious skirt-chasers and were idolized by their supporters.

    Political correctness has taken us to a place where even the most benign comment can be construed as sexist, or racist. Saying “That’s a nice dress” is now sexist or calling out the restrictive policies of the Obama administration as a “black cloud hanging over business'” is racist and we’re lost in a fog of code words.
    We don’t know what he’s accused of doing or saying and until we find out, I say we give MrCain the benefit of our doubt that he’s a sexual predator.

    1. I am kind of shocked at these comments, SrDem. So what? Wo what indeed! So I am not charmed. So there is not call for tacky behavior in business life. So zip it…if any of this is true. I wish I had the money and peace of mind I had in the Clinton yrs–does that make what he did A-OK? No!

      I am off this thread!

      1. Star, do not forget what they have done to Sarah, and to her family. Do not forget that it is still going on! Even calls for her assasination!

      1. If the press of today were around when Kennedy was in office he would have a completely different legacy! And I do believe the very liberal press makes much ado about nothing when it comes to conservative candidates. And yes, they leave their pretty boys alone. There is so much more to the Obama story than has been investigated or told because he is their boy. I can’t agree more about the political correctness, I have been accused of racism because someone wanted to misinterpret innocent remarks. It happens ALL the time.

    2. I agree srdem65.
      This is just the start of the attacks.
      They will ferret out anything they can find, and use it to destroy the individual with the media bias they control.

  13. With memories of what happened to Judge Clarence Thomas and the fact that it was only two women, I’ll hold judgement for the time being. However, it certainly does not look good.

      1. I submit that there are very CEO’s who have not been confronted with a similar scenario.
        The difference here is Cain is a republican running against the Bamster with good chances.

  14. End of Cain? With this scant amount of information? I don’t think so.

    Clarence Thomas survived televised hearings with Anita Hill’s testimony about the Diet Coke, among other things. Remember those? Lots of sordid details there – really sordid, really detailed – and Justice Thomas was not blocked from taking the High Court bench.

    On the other hand, look what happened to Judge Samuel Kent.

    If the Cain story is closer to Kent than to Thomas, and that story is revealed to the public, then I agree, he’s a goner. However, right now, with just the Politico story … I don’t think Herman Cain’s campaign is doomed.

  15. I was listening to WTOP (CBS affiliate), DC news and traffic station on the way into work this morning….they mentioned this story every 15 minutes! If the MSM gives this thing legs then I’ll have to agree with Keith. Personally, I agree with IndependentVoter above.

  16. I think that these allegations–and that is all they are at this point–represent a dusting off of the Clarence Thomas smear playbook. They are a throwback to one of the favorite themes of the Jim Crow days–a black man is so close to an animal that he can’t control his sexual urges. I suggest that people read “To Kill A Mockingbird” again.

    I say this as a person who has no favorites in the Republican field as of yet–what I do know is that I will be voting against the present occupant of the WH next year.

  17. Before everybody starts jumping out of their skin, I suggest reading the linked article. Remember, this is the Obama Admin. – they have no intention of making a conservative win anything but ugly, confrontational and down n’ dirty. I’ll wait for the facts in the meantime. It’s just “odd” that the moment Cain is at 23% and not at 6% the Politico piece appears.

    Peculiarly enough, though, at least from my lawyerly point of view, the fact that the charges date back to 1990 makes the charges less, rather than more, damning in my eyes. Why? Because the 1990s were a wonderful time for plaintiffs’ attorneys bringing sexual harassment charges. Why? Because the Ninth Circuit had just handed down a decision vastly expanding the definition of workplace sexual harassment.*

    1. Yes, the world we live in today, even looking at the opposite sex in a so called seemingly suggestive way is grounds for a harassment case with $$$$$$$ for the accuser and their shyster representation.

  18. Although Cain has admitted he was falsely accused, I’m still a bit skeptical of this story. My niece was sexually harassed at work and resolved her situation through EEOC. She wasn’t after money, she wanted justice and to work in a non-hostile environment. The Politico article didn’t state whether the women had filed complaints with EEOC but I believe their story would be be more credible if they had. Also, anonymous sources and third party sources do not make a case. We need more information/evidence in order to make judgement.

  19. Martin — a reporter’s reporter. Really? If you say so. I’ll take my reporters with confirmed sources and facts. I’ll withhold my opinion until there is something of substance. In the meantime I see this as common smear tactics, reserved for conservatives. And any time I see Geraldo questioning someone’s morals, values or integrity I know it’s time to move on.

  20. Think about it.
    If two women made these same charges from fifteen years ago, about Barack Obama, the liberal press would be running over people to discover and destroy them both.

    “Drag a hundred dollar bill through a trailer park, ya’ never know what your gonna’ find.”
    James Carville. November 17, 1998

    Juanita Broderick? Jennifer Flowers? Paula Jones?
    Reputations destroyed.

    A Conservative black man leading all Republican polls and the hero of a basically white, Tea Party?

    New Rules:

    “POLITICO has confirmed the identities of the two female restaurant association employees who complained about Cain but, for privacy concerns, is not publishing their names.”

    1. I agree that Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones had their reputations destroyed but it didn’t help either when they posed nude in Penthouse. I’m wondering if someone violates their NDA, what happens at that point? Can we believe anything they say now because they weren’t truthful at keeping the circumstances of their NDA secret?

    2. Exactly Scullman. They would have done a rectal exam on the lives of both women. Charges of sexual harassment went viral in the 90’s. I’d like to know details on who these two women are and what specific charges they made.

  21. If Cain doesn’t run (and I wasn’t crazy about him much either but I would have still voted for him) I just dont know…

    I cannot STAND the other candidates-and doubt if they could beat obama-maybe gingrinch but how can we have a president named Newt?

  22. Come on! $10,000?? It takes nothing for anyone to file a sexual harassment suit, false ones included. That amount is so small, I can just hear the attorneys advise Mr. Cain to settle. $10,000 is NOTHING in the litigious world and you know it.

    This is nothing more than a witch hunt. Liberals are horrified any time they see a black person that dares to be conservative! They will do anything to get them back on the liberal plantation, including BS like this.

      1. Oh, you mean like Teddy Kennedy getting away with murder ?
        Bill Clinton enjoying sexual favors in the oval office ?
        Barney Frank running a male prostitution ring out of his apartment ?
        Man-woman, nothing more, except for the fact that Cain happens to be a threat to the Obama regime.
        Scooby is correct on the witch hunt.
        Their hit list is only beginning to unfold.
        That’s my opinion Star.

  23. Keith, love your writing, your reporting, your insight, your fairness – but in this case, I 100% disagree with your take on this non-story.

    1. What laws did Cain break? Oh, that’s right – it wasn’t a criminal case – no charges were filed.

    2. Who sued Cain? Oops – no civil case was filed.

    3. Companies constantly make financial decisions on a purely practical basis – when faced with bogus lawsuits by disgruntled employees, etc. Doesn’t have a damn thing to do w/ guilt/innocence. The NRA atty’s/insurance exec’s may well have looked at this non-case & decided to throw some $$$ at the two women, instead of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars defending themselves. Not unusual at all.

    4. Politico reporters reviewed the lawsuit documentation? EXCUSE ME? That’s supposed to be CONFIDENTIAL. One or both of those women – or their attorneys – breached the confidentiality clause of the agreements.

    5. Jonathan Martin a “reporter’s reporter”?! Oh, please. Just because Martin, who worked for the GOP previously, occasionally grows a pair & stands up to Obama, doesn’t mean he will be fair to a true conservative.
    In fact, Martin wrote the recent hit piece on Rick Perry, entitled “Is Rick Perry DUMB?” in Politico – using ANONYMOUS sources. And previously, he wrote about Sarah Palin, using ANONYMOUS sources, saying she was “wreaking havoc” on the campaign trail.

    Hit pieces on Cain & Perry – WHO BENEFITS – Mitt Romney, of course. And btw, that’s the favored candidate of Ailes & his loyal attack dogs at Fox. Not once do I recall a critical report on Romney on Fox’s Special Report.

    Keith, why do you believe these reports? Because Martin wrote the story? Tell me – what if The American Spectator did a detailed story on allegations that Obama harassed two women – same facts, same anonymous sources – would you believe it? How much air time would such a story get?

    Already that imbecile Jonathan Martin is walking back the allegations:
    he “told MSNBC this morning that he just isn’t “going to get into the details” of what Cain allegedly said, did or “gestured.” Martin cites an incident that may or may not have happened where Cain may or may not have invited a woman up to his hotel room. ”

    Read what Cain’s former associates have to say about him:

    Laura Ingraham’s now calling for an Occupy Politico movement – I’m on board. Politico and its “journalists” who are in fact nothing but propagandists are absolute slime.

      1. Miranda, you are calling names–slime, imbecile–which to me not only makes me glaze over, but undercuts your argument. What is the point of this not being a crime? Does it have to be a crime to be notable for low-rent behavior or bad judgment? Cain himself reportedly alert his staff to harassment mention coming–only it wasn’t this–it was another woman who lost her suit and paid HIS expenses. Does that mean all allegations are false? No.

      2. Well said Miranda and AFVET. Things are going to really get nasty now. If Romney or his people had a hand in any of this, it will come out. Sooner or later the liberals will start turning on each other.

        Recognized Politico for what they were a long time ago, but have only recently noticed the Fox bias towards Romney. I’ve started tuning out on all of Karl Rove’s frequent appearances. His bias is obvious.

          1. Well duh – replied to the wrong post.

            Anyway Susan – I agree w/ you re Fox. It’s not just Rove – it’s O’Reilly of course – who’s said a few times that Cain is “unelectable” (who died & made him King?).

            Plus what really irks me is Special Report – that Panel w/ Krauthammer et al have hammered Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan – repeatedly. Juan Williams called Cain a “simpleton” – twice (on the online show). It’s constant character assassination. They do it w/ Perry too – recently criticized his tax plan etc.

            But who do they never – and I mean NEVER – criticize? Mitt Romney. I’ve never seen any critical analysis of his 58-pt economic plan. Not a one (and I’m a news junkie). It’s no secret that Roger Ailes begged Christie to run – when all that groveling was to no avail, Ailes put all his eggs into Romney’s basket. And it shows.

            It would be too obvious to sing the praises of Romney – instead what we get on Fox is constant criticism of Perry and now Cain. I heard one newscaster say today that the “sexual harrassment claim” was settled for six figures. WRONG. Maybe a mistake, but I haven’t heard any corrections yet.

            Who’s the last man standing after they destroy Cain & Perry? Romney, of course. They ignore Ron Paul, along w/ the rest of the media (although he did appear for an extended interview last week, which they’re doing w/ all the candidates). If Cain drops out, and Gingrich moves up, they’ll dredge up that tale of his serving his wife divorce papers while she was in the hospital (don’t know if that’s true or not).

            I never liked Romney before – now I absolutely detest him.

          2. Miranda, you are like music to my ears! Love everything you have had to say and totally agree. I can’t stand Romney, I don’t trust him AT ALL and totally believe he could be behind this. And am so tired of the media trying to steer the sheeple! Just keep praying more and more people will think for themselves…

  24. POLITICO, who is that?
    People make mistakes, although I think this is much ado about nothing. Mr. Herman Cain is just like any other person. who is HUMAN. I liked Mr. Cain six months ago for what he stands for and I still think he is a good man for the job if nominated.

  25. Mmmm–Keith, I suggest you give a listen to what Mark Levin has to say about this–especially about settlements, the reason for them when allegations are unproven and the cost of fighting them would be more than paying to make them go away. He also has interesting things to say about sealed records–which these are. He has some unflattering things to say about your friend Mr. Martin and those associated with him on the hit piece in the Politico..

    1. Miranda, great debate.
      This country is in such dire straits that even a non-story can bring out the worst in people.
      Without debate we have communism.

  26. Likely the end of Cain? You must believe the lies from Politico. They tried to do the same thing to Thomas. But tell me this liberal media. Why does the brother always have to be cheating or sexually harassing someone?

    1. Because it’s the easiest thing to throw out there without any evidence. Because we are conditioned to always believe the woman over the man. Because we cannot ask about the woman’s background without being screamed at, whether she’s yelled harrasment before, or brought up phony rape charges, whatever. She’s totally untouchable but everything is fair game for him.

    2. Because it is very easy to pick something out of the old, old, old Jim Crow playbook–the black man is very close to an animal and cannot control his sexual urges to put it bluntly. This sort of thing lead to lynchings all over the country not that long ago.

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  28. The author of this article knows nothing about politics. This invented “scandal” is not the end of Cain, it’s his beginning. It gets him HUGE national attention, as never before. And people believe HIM, not the biased media. Net result: a HUGE new group of people who notice Cain, and like him.

    In my opinion, this ridiculous article likely means the end of its author, Keith Koffler. (That statement is just as idiotic as the article’s headline. Keith, baby, wake up and smell the coffee!)

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