In an interview tonight with National Review Online, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi urged Herman Cain to “get all the facts out as quickly as possible.”
“What happens with Cain is going to depend on the facts,” Barbour says. “I don’t know all the facts, but I believe, before all is said and done, that we’ll know the facts.”
However, if the latest claims are proven to be true, or viewed as true by voters, Barbour says they could be fatal to Cain’s candidacy.
“If there is any substance to the claims, if the American people believe that somebody abused women, they are not going to elect him or her president,” he says. “If this were taken as being true, and people believe it’s true, then I don’t think that can be overcome.”
“That’s just not acceptable behavior in our country, particularly if there is a pattern,” he says.
“But we don’t know that,” Barbour cautions. “At this point, it’s very unfair to Herman Cain, or anybody else in America, to be speculating on what will happen if — that’s just very unfair.”
That said, Barbour tells NRO that to beat President Obama, Republicans must avoid distractions. The Cain controversy, he says, has “distracted” the party and the press. In coming days, if Cain “gets the facts out,” he hopes the party and candidate can refocus on “Obama’s policies.”
“I was on Meet the Press on Sunday and in ten minutes, the economy, nor jobs, nor deficits, nor debt, nor health care reform, nor federal spending — none of those things was mentioned,” he says. “That’s perfect for Obama. . . . Anything that distracts from Obama’s policies and the results of those policies distracts from Republicans winning the election.”