The Other McCain

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

Herman Cain At The National Press Club

Posted on | October 31, 2011 | 71 Comments

by Smitty

UPDATE 14:53 the bottom line on the allegation:

“In my over 40 years of running businesses and corporations, I have never sexually harassed anyone,” he told an audience at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
“I was accused — falsely, I might add. When the charges were brought, I recused myself, and allowed my general counsel and human-resources officer to deal with the matter.
“After a thorough investigation, it was determined there was no basis for the complaints,” Cain related.

UPDATE 3:41 PM ET (RSM): The media scrum waited around in the Press Club to catch Cain after his speech, but he eluded us, exiting via a back way down the garage. Then we all raced to the elevators and down to the street. I went around to the exit of the garage and spotted one of Cain’s advance men on lookout duty. Cain had evidently left by another route, but in a couple of minutes, chief of staff Mark Block walked out — smoking a cigarette, naturally. The advance man on lookout duty was giving me the Evil Eye, so I didn’t approach, but shouted out, “How’s it going, Mark?” He made a hand gesture: “call me.” And I shouted, “Hey, I been calling you all day.”

Block was ushered to a waiting Cadillac sedan and they paused briefly before pulling away from the curb, so I trotted up to the open rear window and said, “What’s going on, man?” Block answered: “Gotta got to the next thing.” And off they went.

I’d parked my car a block away at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, and stopped in the ornate lobby to call Smitty and consult as to updates, etc. Then down to the car and out Constitution Avenue, across the river to Rosslyn and the offices of the American Spectator, where I’m now logged in on a borrowed computer. People have asked me how I thought Cain did today, and I answered — striking a John Travolta gesture — “Stayin’ alive.”

There’s a deadline looming, so I’ll update more tonight when I get home. As for now … Hit the freaking tip jar!

*** PREVIOUSLY (11:59 a.m.) ***

Stacy is in shoe leather mode at the National Press Club, standing by for remarks.

The luncheon will begin promptly at 12:30 p.m. Remarks will begin at 1:00 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.
Luncheons are webcast live on Follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NPCLunch, or on Facebook at ( and Twitter (@PressClubDC).
Submit questions for speakers during the live event by sending them to @QNPCLunch on Twitter. Or email a question in advance; type CAIN in the subject line and send to [email protected] before 10 a.m. on the day of event.

He has interviewed sources close to the campaign who said that the campaign had known for some time that Politico was pursuing the allegations of sexual harassment that are in circulation. During a conference call of Cain operatives on Sunday, the Politico story was discussed. The story had been expected within 24-48 hours as of yesterday afternoon, and was published sooner than the campaign had expected. However, there was ‘no sense of doom’ about the story, which is ‘not something that is going to derail the campaign’.

Stacy is seated in the balcony section with a sandwich and coffee, where Cain is expected shortly.

Via Beltway Confidential, we have Herman Cain responding to Jenna Lee on Fox discussing his National Restaurant Association settlement.

UPDATE 12:05 PM EST (RSM) Herman Cain just arrived at NPC. He evaded the sidewalk stakeout by coming in through the parking garage.

UPDATE 12:52 PM EST (RSM) There was a small press gaggle with Mark Block on his way into the luncheon. Have audio, video and photos but am currently poaching a computer in the NPC library and can’t access that now. Security is pretty heavy here.

However, Block denied any knowledge of whether the Politico story was the result of another campaign’s opposition research.

Right now, Politico is looking worse than Cain. Dana Loesch at Big Journalism writes: “Cain has a right to face his accusers and the American public has the right to know the details of a story and not be expected to rush to a judgment predicated on ‘unnamed sources.’” It’s a pretty heavy situation to be sourced so lightly.

UPDATE 13:11 PM EST Linked at Nice Deb and Haemet.

UPDATE 13:21 PM EST Welcome, Instapundit readers!

UPDATE 13:36 PM EST (RSM) In an impromptu press gaggle before the luncheon, Cain campaign chief of staff Mark Block was asked if he believed the Politico story came from another campaign. Block said,

“I would find it hard to believe that anybody with another campaign would do that. But then again, this is politics.”

UPDATE 13:42 PM EST CNN has some talking heads who are concern-milking the scandal cow in a desperate attempt to make cheese:

UPDATE 13:55 PM EST Found the C-Span live stream. We do not have a health care problem; we have a health care cost problem. His interest in running for president was piqued by BHO’s performance.

UPDATE 13:59 PM EST Singing a variation on “Amazing Grace” for a closer. Sans teleprompter.

UPDATE 14:19 PM EST (RSM) Stacy McCain on stakeout duty awaiting Cain’s departure.

UPDATE 14:21 PM EST Further linkage at:

UPDATE 14:45 PM EST (RSM) Cain evaded the press scrum in the parking garage.

UPDATE 16:38 PM EST (RSM) Linked at Maggie’s Notebook.


71 Responses to “Herman Cain At The National Press Club”

  1. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 5:48 pm


    I’ll work through your message backward:

    “Btw, please remind me: as a leftist ‘market anarchist,’ what is your purpose in frequenting the comment section of this blog?”
    Personal recreation. I know Stacy (at least to the extent of 26 hours cramped up in a van with him), I enjoy his writing, and an election cycle is, for me, the equivalent of a season at the dog track. The comments section of this blog is one of the places where I mark up my handicap sheet.

    On your interesting set of alternatives:

    I don’t know that I have “profound moral courage,” but I’ve gone to court over a speeding ticket before when I knew I wasn’t guilty.

    I also don’t know that I have “a lot to lose” per se. The things  it would hurt me to lose (wife and kids) aren’t things that something like a false sexual harassment complaint could take away. The things that I could lose (physical possessions), I tend to discount the value of above and beyond the bare minimum, in part because of my religious beliefs.

    As to whether or not I think Cain is a liar, I generally assume that any politician is a liar until I have reason to think otherwise, and Cain’s given me no reason so far to re-examine that assumption.

    BUT: Keep in mind that I don’t “wish to apply [a standard]” to politics in the sense that you’re implying. I don’t greatly care whom the GOP nominates, or who wins the general election, nor will I until and unless I decide to put some money into one or more bets on the matter. The whole affair to me is no of no more moral/practical importance than any given greyhound race at the West Memphis track.

  2. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

    Thanks for the informative responses re gag orders, confidentiality agreements, etc.

    It still doesn’t strike me as plausible that the NRA would reach a settlement relating to his alleged actions as CEO without him at least  being aware of it, though.

    As my ongoing conversation with PGlenn indicates, however, I see this from a very different perspective than most of y’all insofar as I don’t really care whether he’s guilty or innocent, truthful or lying except to the extent that it may have an effect on my calculations of the do race’s outcome.

  3. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

    Given the prevalence of PC nonsense in every part of our society from race to construction safety (my area of particular knowledge) I tend to view things like this as nonsense until proven otherwise.

  4. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

    Apparently that rebuttal is a work in progress as HC remembers a new detail in each subsequent interview. All that does is keep the story in the news when it could have and should have been quashed as soon as it appeared.

  5. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

    You are surprised that they are talking to their lawyers, the NRA lawyers, probably Politico’s lawyers and trying to determine the best approach?

    You have a standard for Herman Cain that God himself would have trouble reaching.

    Herman Cain was absolutely on his game today.  I don’t know of any politician who handled such a situation so well.

    The only thing you can criticize is that his spokesman should not have called Geraldo last night.  However, it was a reasonable, emotional response.  They got word that the story was dropping a few hours earlier and thought they had a few more hours to work on their response. 

    They obviously wanted to attack these false allegations head on….which they did….and which credit is due for.

  6. Joe
    October 31st, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

    Stuart Varney and Juan Williams were great on Hannity today, both say the attacks on Herman Cain, by both the left and right, are motivated by his economic policy and challenging the status quo.  Williams was shocked by the vileness of the attacks from the left.  Varney pointed out how it was only when 999 started to change the dynamic that the attacks really started in earnest. 

    I know a lot of Dems who think Cain has little chance of beating Obama in the general, but they really do not like the idea of the GOP having a committed black conservative running.  Better to exercise their “right to choose” the GOP nominee.

  7. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

    Sorry, I just can’t square your role as a disinterested analyst with your ideological agenda. Actually, I often enjoy reading your analysis and I appreciate the importance you place on neutrally weighing the evidence/facts and making calcuated political predictions. Facts are important to you.

    What’s especially important to me is logic. And it’s illogical for someone who believes in the abolition of the state to simultaneously be an indifferent analyst with no interest in political outcomes – one or the other “proposition” must give way.    

  8. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

    I still don’t get it. I can relate to your approach, as I like to bet the ponies myself. I can’t relate to applying that mentality to politics. If I could, I’d be a Machiavellian or a nihilist, not a market anarchist.

    Market anarchism is utopian. Someone who writes a manifesto on behalf of market anarchism might not see much difference between a given Democrat and a given Republican, but he would have at least some rough blueprint in his mind about what pattern of outcomes might further the cause versus which might detract from it.

    Om the other hand, if he felt that the great majority of American elections made little difference, one way or the way, as regards that cause, then he wouldn’t waste time handicapping the “sport.” 

    Or, was the manifesto also written for sake of pasttime, “of  no more moral/practical importance than any given greyhound race at the West Memphis track”?

  9. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 10:20 pm


    You write:

    “it’s illogical for someone who believes in the abolition of the state to simultaneously be an indifferent analyst with no interest in political outcomes”

    Not at all. The “political outcomes” we’re talking about here are:

    1) Outcomes of internal state beauty contests; that

    2) Differ so little in their essentials as to be inconsequential in the long run.

    The whole plausible range of American “major party” electoral politics is the equivalent of maybe 10 degrees on a 360-degree compass,  and the two-party establishment has done a pretty effective job over the last 120 years or so (starting with adoption of the Australian ballot and proceeding through ballot access laws, etc., that in some states make the ballot less accessible to outsiders than, for example, Iran’s) of precluding substantial electoral movement outside that range.

    But, I’m a junkie. I still do behind-the-scenes political campaign work on a cash and carry basis or for friends, because it’s fun. And I enjoy handicapping the game and making the occasional bet, for cash or bragging rights. I just don’t let myself fall into the fantasy that any of that will change anything important.

  10. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 10:27 pm


    Politics is politics, which these days I treat as sport (and to which I’ve long been addicted).

    Anarchism is anti-politics.

    The “rough blueprint in [my] mind about what pattern of outcomes might further the cause versus which might detract from it” is that the current system of electoral politics can only produce one pattern of outcomes — the state will get bigger and bigger until it either devours everything or collapses. After that, it will be replaced by a new state, or it won’t be.

  11. richard mcenroe
    October 31st, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

    Then how did they get their statement out the same evening Politico posted their leak?  

  12. Anonymous
    October 31st, 2011 @ 10:55 pm

    I’m not sure I understand the question.

    Are you suggesting they had advance notice? I suppose that’s possible, but the question would be from whom? The most likely suspects would be either Politico itself (to give the story some extra leg), or from whatever campaign planted the story with Politico in the first place (my guess would be Perry or, longer-shot, Bachmann).

    PACs, lobbies, think tanks, policy institutes, etc., get statements out the door quickly all the time.

  13. ThePaganTemple
    November 1st, 2011 @ 1:26 am

    Is you all starting to understand now why Palin said the hell with this shit?

  14. Bosun
    November 1st, 2011 @ 7:33 am

    Cain’s response to the disclosure of this episode in his past has been disgraceful: step 1) deny the facts, step 2) disavow any memory of the facts, step 3) admit the messenger had the facts right, but accuse them of raaaaacism. 

  15. Bosun349
    November 1st, 2011 @ 7:45 am

    Cain has now admitted the truthfulness of the Politico report: he was indeed accused of sexual harassment, and his employer did indeed pay to settle the accusations. For this to have been a liberal plot against Cain, as PGlenn suggests, his accusers would have had to know 15 years ago that he would eventually become a potent conservative Republican candidate for president. That’s tin-foil hat thinking. Even the people who’ve been watching as the race unfolded have been surprised by Cain’s sudden surge to the front, but “liberals” saw it coming a generation ago? Get real. If anyone dug it up for Politico, it was another Republican campaign.

  16. ThePaganTemple
    November 1st, 2011 @ 8:09 am

    He didn’t admit to any of the LIES being right, only that he was falsely accused. Nice try. Say hello to the other Perry-bots for us.

  17. Anonymous
    November 1st, 2011 @ 8:42 am

    knappster, thanks for the clarification. I hear what you’re saying about the realities of politics – to a certain extent, I share much of your cynicism about them. From now on, I’ll no longer question your purpose when you offer your gruff analysis and handicapping.

    But then I still wonder how serious you are about your bigger-picture political goals and ideals. In theory, you’re wasting your time, one way or the other . . .  

    1. On the one hand, you’re fatalistic concerning the deeper currents, in which case treating American electoral politics as a handicapping exercise makes perfect sense; however, your utopian market anarchism project would not. Why reach out to other anarchists now – why write about current affinities among various strands of anarchism? Etc. – when the state is eventually going to devour everything, including itself, on its own? When writing theoretical material, why not focus exclusively on the aftermath of that devouring – i.e., how market anarchism can ultimately position itself to be the dominant model after all the otherwise inevitable processes of state collapse happen? 

    2. On the other hand, if in your hopes for a different future, you believe that ideas are constantly reshaping the world, that would explain your commitment to market anarchism and the current thrust of that project. In that case, however, expressing political cycnism and/or philosophical fatalism would either be illogical or perhaps tactical. No matter how flawed the American system, no matter how seemingly imperceptible the differences among people in that system, the market anarchist would attempt to “handicap” a path toward a future in which the “devoured state” would not be replaced by another state.      

  18. Anonymous
    November 1st, 2011 @ 9:22 am


    That’s an interesting framing of the issue, and I suspect I’ll spend a good deal of time considering it.

    Initial thoughts:

    My piece on “affinities among various strands of anarchism” was a one-off response to a specific controversy, and is actually something of a departure from form.

    In the normal course of things, I generally take a damn the torpedoes inverse-Mussolini tack: “Everything outside the state, nothing within the state.” Or, to grab and modify a possibly apocryphal Eamonn de Valera quote, “we defeat the state by ignoring it.”

    I’m not a fatalist, really — more of a cataclysmicist. I don’t see a “path” to anarchy so much as I see a recurring set of circumstances in which states collapse and are replaced by new states, and believe that a well-developed set of non-state institutions, in place already at one of those transition points (but with not power to cause one of those transition points to come about), might successfully halt the process.

    My continuing personal fascination with electoral politics (which I only gave up on as a possible functional activity for producing positive change relatively recently) is something along the lines of an architect also collecting stamps, or a doctor building ships in bottles, or just maybe an otherwise normal person’s occasional crack binge. I exercise that fascination because I enjoy it, or perhaps because I’m addicted to it.

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