The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Cain Spokesman: ‘Smear Campaign Meant to Discredit a True Patriot’
UPDATE: Former Campaign Aide Says Cain’s Behavior ‘Never Even Bordered on Inappropriate in the Slightest’

Posted on | October 30, 2011 | 140 Comments

You have to read pretty far down into the Politico story before you find that response from Herman Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon, and the article sticks all the exculpatory material at the end:

Ron Magruder, Denise Marie Fugo and Joseph Fassler, the chair, vice chair and immediate past chairman of the National Restaurant Association board of directors at the time of Cain’s departure, said they hadn’t heard about any complaints regarding Cain making unwanted advances.
“I have never heard that. It would be news to me,” said Fugo, who runs a Cleveland, Ohio, catering company, adding such behavior would be totally out of character for the Cain she knew. “He’s very gracious.”
Fassler, who helped bring Cain on board as CEO of the restaurant association, said that any inappropriate behavior was not brought to his attention and that he would be upset to learn it had gone on and he was not made aware of it.
“That’s a shock to me,” Fassler said. “As an officer during all of Herman’s years there as a paid executive… none of that stuff ever surfaced to me. Nobody ever called me, complained about this, nor did I ever hear that from Peter Kilgore, nor did I ever hear that from Herman Cain.”
Fassler — who ran a Phoenix food-service company and finished his term as chairman the month before Cain’s June 1999 departure but remained on the board’s executive committee — described Cain as treating men and women identically and asserted it was “not within his character” to make unwanted advances. “It’s not what I know of him,” Fassler said.
Much like Fassler, almost all board members remember Cain fondly and say he left on good terms.
Cain was “extremely professional” and “fair” to female staffers at the restaurant association, recalled Lee Ellen Hayes, who said she “worked fairly closely with” Cain in the late 1990s, when she was an executive at the National Restaurant Association Education Fund, a Chicago-based offshoot of the group.
Cain’s treatment of women was “the same as his treatment of men. Herman treated everyone great,” said Mary Ann Cricchio, who was elected to the board of the restaurant group in 1998. She said Cain left such a good impression on the organization that when he spoke at a group event in January of this year, as he was considering a presidential bid, “he had unanimous support in the room.”

We know nothing about the accusers and the specifics of the accusations from a dozen years ago are reported rather vaguely by Politico: “episodes that left the women upset and offended” and “physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship.”

All in all, it’s a long run for a short slide. Unless and until we have some specifics — including names, dates and places — my instinct is to agree with Gordon that this is “part of a smear campaign.”

Why are Cain’s enemies firing the thermonuclear component of their oppo-research arsenal so early? Generally speaking in such matters, you save your big stuff for later in the campaign.

UPDATE: A commenter reminds us of the Inept Elevator Nerd incident, which prompted Rebecca Watson to lecture her fellow atheists about how it “creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable when men sexualize me in that manner.” The basic problem is that, absent a court proceeding, “harassment” is an accusation impossible to refute. And if you can get tens of thousands of dollars in “go-away” money by making such an accusation, hell, why not?

UPDATE II: A female Republican operative who worked on Herman Cain’s 2004 Georgia Senate campaign scoffs at the accusations against him. “I don’t believe story that Cain behaved inappropriately,” wrote the woman, who uses the Twitter handle @KarolNYC. “He never even bordered on inappropriate in the slightest,” she Tweeted, and added that she “just can’t believe there’s anything to the charges.”

Cain’s supporters are furious and there is widespread suspicion that the Politico story was the result of opposition-research by Cain’s GOP rivals.

UPDATE III: Linked by Andrea Shea King, The Lonely Conservative, Maggie’s Notebook and Fire Andrea Mitchell — thanks!

Many women who know Cain are prepared to vouch for his character.

UPDATE IV: J.D. Gordon’s call-in to Geraldo didn’t go well:

UPDATE V: Thanks to the commenter who pointed out that on Friday, the Arizona state coordinator for the Rick Perry campaign Tweeted this:

This is (a) intriguing, but (b) not actually proof that the Perry campaign was dishing “oppo” on Cain. It so happens that I spoke by phone with Mrs. Bolick last year during a visit to Arizona with my blog buddy Barbara Espinosa. Mrs. Bolick is a nice lady, but we are left to wonder where she he might have heard about this “not pretty” opposition research.

UPDATE VI (Smitty): Linked by Ed Driscoll. Does it count as ‘First Blood’, though?

UPDATE VII (Smitty): More thoughts at ResCon1.

 

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/JSF1970 Joseph Fein

    On my FB feed, a Gingrich supporter mentioned how “Cain is knocked out of the race,” 

    Looks like this came from a candidate who forgot Reagan’s 11th Commandment. Find out who done it and cut off their funding. 

    Right now it looks like Gingrich. 

  • Anonymous

    It was Perry.  Rumblings of an attack from their camp have been leaking out for the past two weeks.

    Whoever leaked this story to Politico is going to see their political career shattered.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VXLH6KFHZNPUWZOFTI6QZWX65A JohnM

    Without his teleprompter, Odumbo probably couldn’t remember his own name in a debate.  Remember  “Michael and I” just a couple weeks ago, when he read it off the TP, referring to HIS WIFE?

    Palin isn’t runing (dammit) but Cain is, and his speeches are in his head and in his heart.  What makes you think Dumbo could stay in the same room with Herman?

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Thanks.  I did manage to find it, and one of the two tweets it referred to.  Passed them on to Stacy for his perfeshunal evaluation.

  • Anonymous

    The SDs don’t have to be any part of this equation. To an outfit like Politico dishing dirt on any Republican would be it’s own virtue. Also I don’t think the SDs are as well game planned as you seem to think, if they had something they think would hurt any Republican politician or candidate the temptation to throw it out there would be more than they could resist. Further more Obama’s plan isn’t to run against just the Republican nominee but the whole party

  • Anonymous

    confidentiality clause…hmmm does that mean that IF these women agreed to TAKE the money…they were supposed to keep their PIEHOLES shut?

    I am a woman, and I spent YEARS managing a BAR…I batted off sexual harrassment, physical and verbal, no less then 25 times a night.  A few of them had MONEY….and I probably could have taken them to the WOODSHED for some hush money, but, I don’t roll that way.

    I’d rather figuratively stomp on their bag and leave them to lick their wounds in crushing rejection.

  • Anonymous

    “What makes you think Dumbo could stay in the same room with Herman?”

    I’ve watched them both debate.

    Keeping to the fight metaphor, it wouldn’t even be a typical knockout. Unless Cain gets some mighty steroids or something between now and next fall, Obama would spin Cain around, pick him up by the ears, knee him the groin repeatedly from behind while bashing his head against the turnbuckle, then hang him up in the corner by his jockstrap … without ever breaking a sweat.

    As for Palin, she barely held her own against Joe Biden. ‘Nuff said.

  • Anonymous

    Well, maybe not.  There’s always the possibility they’re saving the “unseal-the-records” trick for after Cain’s nomination.

  • Anonymous

    I think JD Gordon actually did a good job.

    The best course, however, would have not to make that call and just take reporters questions through the night.

    Obviously, this story is true.  However, legally speaking, there is little that Herman Cain’s team can do or say since he signed a general confidentiality agreement with the NRA when he went to work with them.

    Reports are that the NRA is who the accuser went after, not Cain directly.  It was a money play.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    I’m thinking Gordon hadn’t cleared any statements with Cain, so couldn’t commit to anything he might have to walk back later.  If there was a baseless accusation leveled as extortion, that was still a “charge” or “accusation” against him, however false or ridiculous.  Gordon wouldn’t say something he wasn’t certain of, this ain’t his first rodeo.

  • Anonymous

    Especially if the woman was a Yankee.  I had a boss who called me  “honey” or “darling.”  At first it really bugged me, but then I noticed that he addressed ALL women that way.  He was born and raised in the south–he’d be well into his 90s now–so it was a mere habit of an old-school southern gentleman.  I’d bet my bippy that’s what happened to Cain.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Okay, how much, and what standard of proof to settle the wager?

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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Wasn’t it Tom Foley who said of the ridiculous conspiracy theory that George H.W. Bush had flown a SR-71 Blackbird jet to Europe during the 1980 campaign to negotiate a secret deal on the hostages with Iran, “It is precisely because we have no evidence that an investigation is necessary!”

    It’s not up to anyone to deny your baseless charges.  And your “first amendment rights” don’t include slander and libel, you are slithering by on the theory these men are public figures and can be freely maligned without a shred of truth to it.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    So their Secret Plan was to brag about a coming attack, then attempt to plant it with a leftist organ, trusting them not to burn them?

    Boy, that’s dumb!  Why on earth would they do it that way?  They would have to know it would come out on the eve of the acceptance speech if Perry actually won.

    But I agree that IF whoever is behind it is a Republican, their career is shattered.  If it’s a Democrat, it will be, “Nice try, dude, too bad it missed!”

  • MrPaulRevere

    Thanks for the mention Stacy, and thanks to you CaseyGeorge for the tip.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Yes, that now-standard clause makes the anonymous charge seem valid because Cain AND the NRA are quite limited in what they can say about the charges, if there were any, for confidentiality AND privacy reasons.

    Even if what he would say is “that crazy woman bothered me with trivia every day until I started flipping her the bird when she approached,” the “fact” that there was an “accusation” of “harassment” hinting of “inappropriate behavior” and resulting in a “five-figure payout” to two employees (without being able to disclose that their contracts may have provided for a buyout, due to privacy again), suddenly becomes “something” even though it is actually nothing at all.

  • Anonymous

    From the few times I’ve seem women barkeeps handle morons in bars, I know exactly what you mean.  (As a musician, I’ve spent a lot of long nights in bars, and watched the moron factor climb as it gets close to closing time.)

    You don’t mess with women who operate a bar.

  • Anonymous

    Walking on coals.  Or if your geeky enough, Lirpa!

    Uhh, I’ll hold your coat.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Interesting… in the tweet above the Bolick tweet in her stream, @Victoria_29 parrots the “we only support Cain to prove we’re not racist” Dem talking point.  Of course she puts it in the mouth of a “black friend”. If you go through her tweets she seems a pretty lively bearer of false witness…

  • http://twitter.com/boxerpaws1952 Boxers R Awesome

     Victoria 29(who’s had other twitter names)is a doozy and she hates Herman Cain w/ a passion.Meantime the Paul bots are going crazy at their forum.They have always had a section on Herman Cain and how to take take him out. http://www.ronpaulforums.com/forumdisplay.php?313-Opposing-Candidates

  • Alan Kellogg

    Doesn’t mean Republicans can’t feed stuff  to the other side.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Seth-Austin/579409911 Seth Austin

    It could be anything or nothing at all. I had a woman accuse me of sexual harassment for not paying any attention to her.  In the same office another woman accused another man of sexual harassment for putting his hand on her shoulder. 

    The head of our HR department, after I told him I had done nothing to the woman replied that it didn’t matter. What matters is what she perceives, how she feels. Even an innocent glance could be perceived as sexual harassment. 

    Sexual harassment is whatever the accuser says it is. HR departments are obliged to investigate and document every case, however frivolous, because they don’t want to be sued by the accuser. And oftentimes settlements are reached and payouts made on entirely baseless cases. 

    I worked in an office which had a lot of older ladies, many of whom carried pictures of themselves when they were much younger. They refused to accept the reality of aging and frequently would hit on the younger men as a way of validating their continuing attractiveness. It was well known that the guys who did not respond positively to the advances were risking a sexual harassment complaint in retaliation. 

  • Anonymous

    I noticed that several Perry supporters were pushing this story tonight through Twitter and Facebook.  I think all of this is going to backfire on Perry.

  • http://twitter.com/ConfoundedSoc Robert Ferris

    It seems that Politico and Huffington Post are the only two wanting to do this story at the moment.  CNN.com and NYTimes only have little pieces that you have to dig for and MSNBC.com (surprisingly) doesn’t have it at all.  When the big boys keep a story at arms length, it may be dead before it really begins.

  • Anonymous

    By the end of the week we will know if Herman Cain will be able to survive this.

    I’m sure him and his staff are up now plotting how to handle this.

    He has a ton of events set up this week.  He’ll probably have some form of comment or non comment at his first event on Monday at 9am ET.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JAHJ7Z3YBXM3Y2R5QQRNITHWOA Thomas

    Redstate is very happy today.

  • Anonymous

    Good job Stacy, linked:

    Coulter on Agenda Behind Herman Cain ‘Sexual Harassment’ Attacks:Liberals “terrified of strong, conservative, black men”

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    The fact that it is possible isn’t evidence that’s what happened, though.  People are being accused on baseless suspicion alone.  Don’t like Romney?  It must be him.  Don’t like Perry?  Must be him.  Don’t like Gingrich?  Must be him. 

    Can you at least have some testimony the witches have consorted with devils before we burn them at the stake?  Just for appearances’ sake?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ben-Rider/199102782 Ben Rider

    The thing that perked my ears up was in the first page of the story, that the women wish to remain annonymous 
    “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.”
    I bet that’s because if we find out who they are that might reduce their credibility A LOT. 

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    He got hit in the nuts by Politico, a leftist outfit, so that means it must have been a Republican opponent?

    What color is the sky in your world?

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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Oh, he’ll get past this – this is just a sample for Cain, to see how he likes the taste of his own blood.  A warning shot.

    Whoever wins the nomination to run against Obama will be subjected to calumny of levels not seen since the 1820s.  What do you expect Obama to do, run on his record?

  • Ssamford

    I smell the Perry Camp here!

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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    If they accepted money after signing a confidentiality agreement, it usually means they would have to pay it back if they violate the agreement, so they don’t allow their names to be used.

    So we have two anonymous accusers who haven’t even actually alleged anything more than “discomfort” and that he made some offensive but non-sexual hand gesture.  And a third person who confirms the story, but who also demands anonymity for unknown reasons.

    Journalistic ethics permit anonymous sourcing only when the source is likely to be placed in danger by being identified, whether physical or economic, not just because they don’t want their name used.  This doesn’t qualify.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    It’s not even logical to suspect Perry.  They were talking openly about oppo research, an accusation breaks anonymously because they thought no one would suspect them?

    It is more likely the perp hoped to use the Perry threat as cover.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ben-Rider/199102782 Ben Rider

    this is going to blow up in the MSM faces, this is like the ‘fake but accurate’ Dan Rather scandal in 2004

  • http://twitter.com/texasps Paula

    Good grief, quit blaming Rick Perry for everything.  These are the same Politico “anonymous sources” that attacked Perry.   (You remember the damn rock don’t you?)

    You watch, these allegations against Cain are going to prove to be baseless.   Cain is a good Christian man and this would be totally out of character for him.

    This is not a scandal.  It’s a MSM gotcha situation so they can ask trick questions.  It’s the ole  “So, when did you quit beating your wife” scenario.

    This Election is going to be brutal.

  • http://twitter.com/texasps Paula

    Wow we’re going to start blaming the Candidates for what supporters say on twitter? (What has this world come to?)  Well then I better start lining up all of the tweets by supporters of Romney, Cain, RonPaul etc. cause i could find you some doozies of rude tweets by many others. 

    There are many supporters on twitter that get carried away about defending their Candidates.  And here’s some food for thought, there are also  a lot of Democrat operatives posing as Republicans tweeting nonsense on twitter also.

    File this under grain of salt.

  • http://www.redstateeclectic.typepad.com AngelaTC

    This is the only question the media will have for him this morning. I hope he’s got the patience for that.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Adjoran, it doesn’t make much sense for the Democrats to do it this early in the game. unless they really are more afraid of Cain than they are Romney or any of the others. I do concede that’s possible. It could well be that the whole Cain Train makes them uncomfortable. If they could derail his campaign now they can go back to the old leftist meme that any opposition to Obama is based on racism, a charge that wouldn’t be so easy to justify if Herman Cain got the GOP nomination running against so many lily white candidates.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    You hit the nail on the head, Marie, I’ve been thinking the same damn thing, the “sex-crazed black man” has almost become an archetype, one we’re not supposed to discuss or even admit to. This could be meant not to make Cain look bad, but to make Republicans and conservatives look bad for turning against him on the basis of what is essentially an unsubstantiated rumor that could have been started by a disgruntled employee, or somebody looking to make a quick buck through a settlement. You never know.

    Also, you are right about the result of any other candidate being behind this if it ever comes out. This is exactly why I discount Romney being behind this. I just can’t buy it, because of all the candidates, he would have the most to lose and the least to gain.

    The question becomes, who has the most to gain and the least to lose, or is the most desperate. That in itself of course would not constitute evidence as such, but its a good place to start looking. Unfortunately, I can think of at least three who that might describe.

    One things for sure, if one of them did do it, it will come out eventually, especially if the person starts doing well in the polls, or most especially wins a primary or two.

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  • Anonymous

    “Our side” does not include Romney or Perry.  “Our Side” is not Republican.  “Our side” is Conservative.  Which neither Romney, Perry or Karl Rove are.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    About 12 years ago, I attended a mandatory sexual harassment seminar.  I sat silently as they went through the whole ‘what she perceives’ BS [of course, they had to mention gay guys as well]. 

    During the question period I asked: ‘Considering how you don’t know if something you say is going to be taken by the other person, is it best to just say nothing to your co-workers outside of strictly business matters?’  The woman answered: ‘Yes!’.

    It truly is a world turned upside down.

  • Anonymous

    The sky in my world ranges from blue to gray to black — which means that I recognize that Politico only looks particularly “leftist” if I examine it next to old issues of the John Birch Society magazine or printouts of WorldNetDaily.

    What Politico is, is sensationalist.

    And the Dems don’t want to go up against Cain in the general election like B’rer Rabbit doesn’t want to be thrown into the briarpatch.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    While their is no evidence of where this hit came from, I can tell you that, after being around politicians and pundits for over 35 years at all levels, I’ve seen many instances where a Rove-like figure merely says to a reporter for the other side ‘Six words: Cain, National Restaurant Association, Sexual Harassment’ and walks away.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    You sound like my wife.