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Tags: The Primary Event

Bachmann: Cain Is ‘Inconsistent’



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In an interview with radio host Scott Hennen to be aired today, Michele Bachmann accused Herman Cain of being too “inconsistent” to become  the “leader of the free world.”

“The fact that he’s switched his positions when he found out that they weren’t acceptable by the people who were voting,” Bachmann said, according to the transcript. “That should really give people cause. Everyone loves him, who doesn’t, he has a great personality, but this is the leader of the free world we’re talking about.”

“There has been 10 instances in the last month where he’s changed his positions on significant issues,” she said earlier in the interview. “On the issue of pro-life he said the government shouldn’t intervene to protect life and then he switched and said ‘no they should.’ He wasn’t for the marriage amendment, then he said he was. Then he said that he would allow the terrorists to go out of Guantanamo Bay. In other words he would release the terrorists. Then he changed his mind and said ‘no.’ He just said this week that China was developing a nuclear weapon. They’ve had one for 47 years. He said that 999 would be equitable and fair then he changed it to 9-0-9 after people called out his errors.”

Audio:

DeMint Probably Won’t Endorse This Cycle



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From the Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen:

It is this success that has led DeMint, after much contemplation, to decide that he will not endorse anyone in the 2012 GOP presidential primaries. “I want to announce that I am very unlikely to endorse a candidate in the presidential race,” DeMint told me in an interview this weekend. The most disappointed GOP contender may be Mitt Romney, who received De­Mint’s endorsement in 2008 and could have used the senator’s support to woo skeptical conservatives this time around. Why did DeMint decide not to endorse Romney again? “It’s a different race, different people in it, different time for our country,” he said, adding, “I would be very comfortable supporting any of  … [our candidates] for president.”

Cain Accuser to Hold Press Conference with Gloria Allred



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A woman accusing Herman Cain of sexual harassment will hold a news conference today with celebrity attorney Gloria Allred in New York City, reports RadarOnline. 

Cain: ‘These Allegations Aren’t Going Anywhere’



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Reflecting upon the last week, Herman Cain remained optimistic about his campaign.

“It was a very challenging week,” Cain said in an interview that aired tonight on Fox News’ Geraldo at Large. “But what I’m proudest of is that first, we didn’t cancel one engagement. I didn’t cancel not one speech and not one interview.  Because I refused to get thrown off message and I refuse to overreact to something that we knew or we know that eventually’s gonna be shown that is really not factually driven.”

Cain conceded that the initial response from him and his campaign had been a “bumpy start,” but noted that the campaign also had its most successful fundraising week.

“Far as we’re concerned, these allegations aren’t going anywhere,” he said. “I mean people might make up some more stuff.  We are in it to win it.”

“The American people are sick of government politics,” Cain added.

Cain: ‘These Allegations Aren’t Going Anywhere’



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Reflecting upon the last week, Herman Cain remained optimistic about his campaign.

“It was a very challenging week,” Cain said in an interview that aired tonight on Fox News’ Geraldo at Large. “But what I’m proudest of is that first, we didn’t cancel one engagement. I didn’t cancel not one speech and not one interview.  Because I refused to get thrown off message and I refuse to overreact to something that we knew or we know that eventually’s gonna be shown that is really not factually driven.”

Cain conceded that the initial response from him and his campaign had been a “bumpy start,” but noted that the campaign also had its most successful fundraising week.

“Far as we’re concerned, these allegations aren’t going anywhere,” he said. “I mean people might make up some more stuff.  We are in it to win it.”

“The American people are sick of government politics,” Cain added.

Paul: ‘No Intention’ to Make Third-Party Run



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Ron Paul said today he has “no intention” of making a third-party run if he is not the GOP nominee.

“I have no intention of doing that,” he said on Fox News Sunday in an interview this morning. Asked why not, Paul said, “Because I don’t want to do it.”

But he wouldn’t commit to supporting the GOP nominee in the general election. “If they believe in expanding the wars, if they don’t believe in looking at the Federal Reserve, if they don’t believe in real cuts, if they don’t believe in deregulations and a better tax system, it would defy everything I believe in [to endorse],” Paul said, noting that he didn’t want his supporters to think that all they had done was “for naught” because he ultimately backed someone who didn’t agree with him on key issues.

Speaking about the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain, Paul derided the media for having “blown that way out of proportion.” Adding that he’d rather be discussing Cain’s views on foreign policy, Paul said, “He believes in the bailouts, and the Federal Reserve, and all this. I think that’s what we should be talking about, and I don’t like these distractions.”

Newt’s Night



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The Gingrichs sign books after the dinner.

Des Moines, Iowa — At the Reagan dinner, it was Newt Gingrich’s night.

With a two months to go until the Iowa caucuses are held, Gingrich and fellow candidates Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum each gave ten minute speeches to the hundreds of Iowa Republicans gathered.

Early on in his speech, Gingrich took time to laud his rivals.  He complimented Paul for his focus on the Federal Reserve, and a strong dollar. He called Perry his “mentor” on tenth amendment issues, and said he looked forward to debating him on whose flat tax plan was better.  He praised Bachmann for her bill to repeal Obamacare, and Santorum for his focus on Syria and Iran.

“We only have one opponent,” Gingrich said. “That’s Barack Obama.”

He went on to detail what he would do as the GOP nominee, including challenging President Obama to seven Lincoln-Douglas style debates with no moderators. Gingrich made one concession: Obama could use a teleprompter if he wanted.

“If the president does not agree,” Gingrich said in reference to the debates, “I will announce that from that day forward for the rest of the campaign, the White House will be my scheduler” and he would follow Obama wherever he goes, just as Lincoln had followed Douglas for a time. That drew a partial standing ovation from the crowd – a rare show of enthusiasm from a low-energy crowd.

In his speech, Perry joked that he was on “operation occupy the White House,” and stressed his anti-Washington message and his new tax plan.  “The president talks about winning the future. But you can’t win the future by selling off the future,” he said.  And he branded himself as the candidate willing to tackle the tough spending cuts: “I’ll show the courage to reform entitlements. Matter of fact, I laid out a plan last week that does just that.”

Bachmann earned applause for stressing a “no compromise” theme including “that our nominee will be an individual who will stand strong and make sure there is no compromise [on] repealing Obamacare 100 percent.” Paul talked about his plan to ax $1 trillion in spending, and his foreign policy.  Santorum focused on his new plan to strengthen families and marriages, noting that while other candidates had introduced economic plans, he was the only one to have released a culture-oriented plan.

So is it Gingrich’s time in Iowa? Lynn Kuhn, a landscape architect from Iowa and a year-long Gingrich supporter, says she’s hearing from fellow Iowans that they’re giving him another look.

“I’ll use my husband as an example,” Kuhn says. “He’d been … bouncing around with different candidates and … landed on Newt because he’s so consistent, he hangs in there where the others kind of come and go. “

And tonight’s dinner did nothing to hurt that possible burgeoning momentum.

“Let’s be honest,” she says. “He won the night.”

NRA Allows Cain Accuser to Make Statement



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Joel P. Bennett, who represents one of the women who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment during his time at the National Restaurant Association, spoke to the press today. From the Los Angeles Times:

Bennett declined to provide specifics of the complaint, but he did reveal new details to the story which has roiled the Cain campaign this week — most notably, that there were multiple incidents “over a period of time at least a month or two” that prompted a monetary settlement, and that the woman was married at the time (and still is today).The settlement included a non-disclosure agreement. …

“[Cain] has generally said these complaints were baseless, that [he] did not engage in sexual harassment,” Bennett said. “My client felt she wanted to respond to those statements in a prudent way. Her position is that it’s most prudent to do it this way rather than exposing herself personally.”

The National Restaurant Association released this statement:

We have seen the statement Joel Bennett released earlier today on behalf of his client, a former employee of the Association. The Association consented to the release of that statement, at the request of Mr. Bennett’s client.

Based upon the information currently available, we can confirm that more than a decade ago, in July 1999, Mr. Bennett’s client filed a formal internal complaint, in accordance with the Association’s existing policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment. Mr. Herman Cain disputed the allegations in the complaint. The Association and Mr. Bennett’s client subsequently entered into an agreement to resolve the matter, without any admission of liability. Mr. Cain was not a party to that agreement. The agreement contains mutual confidentiality obligations. Notwithstanding the Association’s ongoing policy of maintaining the privacy of all personnel matters, we have advised Mr. Bennett that we are willing to waive the confidentiality of this matter and permit Mr. Bennett’s client to comment. As indicated in Mr. Bennett’s statement, his client prefers not to be further involved with this matter and we will respect her decision.

The Association has robust policies designed to ensure that employees with concerns may bring them forward for prompt investigation and resolution, without risk of retaliation. The Association is fully committed to equal employment opportunity and to an environment that is free from any discrimination or harassment.

Romney’s Spending Cuts Proposal



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Full text of Mitt Romney’s speech, as prepared for delivery, on slashing spending at a Americans for Prosperity conference in Washington, D.C. today:

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the President has been traveling the country trying to get support for his new half-a-trillion-dollar stimulus bill.

He keeps telling people, “We can’t wait.”  To which I say, “Yes, we can.”

Upon taking office, this administration’s motto was “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  Since then, it’s become clear that they don’t know how to end one.

The unemployment rate has been over 8% for 33 months.  Our country has been running a deficit for 36 months.  And just last week, nearly 400,000 Americans filed new jobless claims.

We know that’s not the best America can do.  That’s just the best this administration can do. We will do a lot better.

#more#

Over the last 33 months, President Obama has offered a number of plans for getting the economy going.  The problem is that most of his proposals are based on one idea:  More spending and borrowing. Today, government borrows 36 cents of every dollar it spends. If we stay on the present course, we will face tomorrow what Greece, Italy, and Spain face today. But there is no nation big enough to bail us out.

It took 43 presidents over 200 years to accumulate $6.3 trillion of national debt.  President Obama is on track to borrow and spend nearly that much in just one term.

His fundamental error is that he believes government creates jobs and opportunity. He’s wrong. He puts his faith in government.  I put my faith in people.

That is why I will make government simpler, smaller, and smarter.

This is not only good for the economy, it is a moral imperative. We cannot with moral conscience borrow trillions of dollars that can only be repaid by our children. We cannot so weaken our economic foundation that we jeopardize our ability to preserve freedom.

There are some who argue that fiscal responsibility is heartless and immoral. No, what is heartless is to imperil our children. And what is immoral is to imperil the strength of the nation that was founded “under God” and preserved by His hand.     

This is a pivotal moment in the history of the country. We will either be led by men and women who care only for the present, who promise more and ask for less, and who ignore the tightening noose of debt–or we will be led by those who believe that deficits matter and who have the courage to act with fiscal responsibility.

When I became the Governor of Massachusetts in 2003, the state budget was out of control.  My legislature was 85% Democrat. Some thought we should just raise taxes or borrow more money.  I said no.

Even with about the most Democratic legislature in the nation, we didn’t just slow the growth of spending, we cut spending. And we turned a $3 billion budget shortfall into a $2 billion rainy day fund.

I learned how to balance budgets in business.  In the private sector, you have no choice—you either balance your budget or you go broke.  And you spend every dollar like it’s your own, because it is.

Someone should have told that to Solyndra. The federal government gave them a $535 million loan guarantee to build a factory in Fremont, California.  The footprint covered 5 football fields.  They had robots that whistled Disney songs. I am not kidding. They had “spa-like showers with liquid-crystal displays of the water temperature.”  The company headquarters was called the “Taj Mahal” of office buildings. That’s how government starts a company.

Let me compare Solyndra with Staples, a company I helped get started.  Our headquarters was located in the back of an empty food warehouse.  We got some used office furniture – old Naugahyde chairs. You had to be an athlete to get out of them.  Every penny we had went into selling the product and attracting new customers.  

That’s a difference between the private sector and government–fiscal responsibility.

I took my business experience and brought it to the Olympics.  I came at a time when the Games were in crisis.  We had a $370 million budget deficit, and some said the Games would fail.

The first thing we did was change the culture. We started with small, but symbolic gestures.  We stopped renting fancy conference rooms for board meetings and charged board members $1 for a can of Coke and $1 for a slice of pizza.

We cut the budget for things like decorations, brochures, travel, and motivational speakers.  We could get all the motivation we needed from the performance of our athletes.  We wanted the entire organization to know that every penny mattered.

I used the commonsense principles I had relied on so many times in the private sector to come up with $98 million in immediate budget cuts. When it was all said and done, our Olympics were among the most successful ever, and instead of a deficit, we produced $100 million dollars for an endowment fund.

In business, in the Olympics, and in Massachusetts, I’ve learned how to eliminate deficits and to produce results. When I get to the White House, no one will need to teach me how to balance budgets. I’ve been doing that for 35 years.

It is time to level with the American people about what it will take to cut spending and balance our budget, to set honest goals and present a credible plan to achieve them.

This won’t be easy. It requires tough choices.  Many believe it can’t be done.  I believe it must be done.  I believe in the American people. When the nation calls, Americans deliver.

Over the last 33 months, President Obama has grown federal spending to 24% of the economy, 24% of the GDP.  As president, I pledge to reduce spending to 20% of GDP by the end of my first term. I will cap it at that level.  And further, I will put us on a path to a balanced budget and a constitutional amendment that requires the government to spend only what it earns.

To reach the 20% goal, we’ll need to find almost $500 billion in savings a year in 2016.

Upon taking office, I will immediately cut discretionary spending and submit a budget that returns spending to pre-Obama levels.

However, as I said at the Citadel, I will reverse President Obama’s massive defense cuts.  Any savings we will find in the defense budget we will re-direct to rebuild our navy and our air force, to add active duty soldiers and sailors, and to provide the care our veterans deserve.   The world has not become a less dangerous place. We must preserve our commitment to a military that is so strong, no nation would ever think of testing it.

My roadmap to a smaller, simpler government combines three separate approaches.

First, eliminate and cut programs.

That will start with the easiest cut of all: I will repeal Obamacare.  This alone will save us $95 billion a year.  It’s bad law, bad policy, and when I’m president, the bad news of Obamacare will be over. 

There are many other federal programs that we must either dramatically scale back or cut out entirely. For each program, I will ask this question – “is this program so critical, so essential, that we should borrow money from China to pay for it?”   

I like Amtrak, but I’m not willing to borrow $1.6 billion a year to subsidize it.  I like the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but I refuse to borrow almost $1 billion a year from China to pay for them.

And then there’s foreign aid. Did you know that we give $27 million a year in foreign aid to China? I will stop sending money to any country that can take care of itself. And no foreign aid will go to countries that oppose American interests.

We spend $300 million a year on groups like Planned Parenthood, which provide abortions or abortion-related services. It’s long past time for that to be over.

So first, we will eliminate or cut programs that are not absolutely essential.

Second, we return numerous federal programs to the states. That’s because innovation, cost management, and reduction of fraud and abuse can far exceed what Washington is able to achieve.

Medicaid is a prime example.  We need to turn Medicaid back to the states and allow them to craft the healthcare solutions that suit their citizens best.  By limiting the growth of Medicaid funding to CPI plus one percent, we will save $100 billion a year.

Today, nine federal agencies run 47 different federal worker retraining programs at a cost of $18 billion a year. Just imagine how much is spent on overhead.  I will send those workforce training dollars back to the states, empowering them to retrain workers in ways that fit the needs of their respective economies.   In the process, we can save billions of dollars.

Finally, in addition to cutting programs and returning programs to states, there is a third approach to reining-in federal spending. It is to impose far greater productivity and efficiency on government itself, just like is regularly done in every successful business in the country.

Let me give you an example of just how out of control government has become. Former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman reports that during the  Second World War, we commissioned 1000 ships a year, and the Navy purchasing department that year, which they called the Bureau of Ships, had 1000 employees. By the time John was Secretary during the Reagan Administration, we commissioned 17 ships a year. And Navy purchasing had grown to 4,000 people. Today, we commission 9 ships a year. And purchasing? It’s grown to 24,000 people. A business like that would be out of business.

We must cut the size of the federal workforce.  On President Obama’s watch, we’ve added more than 140,000 federal workers.  The American people are increasingly working to support the government.  It should be the other way around. 

I will reduce the federal payroll by at least 10%, saving $3.5 billion a year.  And we can save billions more by cutting extraneous federal contractors.

It’s not just the size of the federal workforce, it’s also the cost.  Since President Obama took office, the number of federal workers making $150,000 or more has doubled.

I will limit the salaries and benefits of workers in the public sector to those for workers in the private sector.  Public servants should not get a better deal than the taxpayers they work for.  By linking government pay with private sector pay, we will save as much as $47 billion a year.

There are still other ways to make the federal government work more efficiently and effectively.  We will attack the rampant fraud that exists in numerous government programs by enacting far stiffer penalties for those who steal from taxpayers.  Cutting improper payments in half can save more than $60 billion a year.  And we can save nearly $11 billion a year by repealing a political giveaway that protects unions from competition and drives up the cost of government contracts: it’s time to repeal Davis Bacon.

We will also find savings by combining certain government agencies and departments. For example, it makes very little sense that trade policies and programs are administered by so many offices in so many departments. Today, trade matters are housed in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce, the International Trade Commission, the International Trade Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of the Treasury. And guess who gathers our trade data? None of the above; it’s the Census Bureau. Too many chefs not only spoil the broth, they make it inedible and prohibitively expensive.   

In sum, I will make the federal government simpler, smaller, and smarter by eliminating programs, by sending programs back to the states, and by making government more productive. I will provide for the national defense, enforce our laws, preserve our safety net, and honor all our promises to our elderly. This is the right course for a moral nation.

Deficits do in fact matter. They matter if we want to convince entrepreneurs to start businesses. They matter if we want employers to start hiring. They matter if America is to avoid the shoals of economic calamity. They matter if America is to remain the shining city on a hill. To those who say that deficits don’t matter, to those who spend and borrow to win the praise of the short-sighted, we assert that you are in the wrong, and we are in the right.

My dad used to say that “the pursuit of the difficult makes men strong.” Our next president is going to face difficult choices.  Among these will be the future of Social Security and Medicare.  In their current form, these programs will go bankrupt.   I know that, you know that, and even our friends in the other party know that.  The difference is that I will be honest about strengthening and preserving them, and they won’t.

President Obama has failed to articulate a single serious idea to save Social Security.

I believe we can save Social Security with a few commonsense reforms.  First, there will be no change for retirees or those near retirement. No change.  Second, for the next generation of retirees, we should slowly raise the retirement age.  And, finally, for the next generation of retirees, we should slow the growth in benefits for those with higher incomes.

While President Obama has been silent on Social Security, his agenda for Medicare is disastrous.  He’s the only president in modern history who has cut Medicare for seniors—do not forget, it was President Obama who cut $500 billion from Medicare, not to preserve it or sustain it, but to pay for his vaunted Obamacare. And he put the future of Medicare in the hands of 15 unelected bureaucrats.  These bureaucrats have the power to enact further cuts to Medicare without congressional approval, even if those cuts overturn a law previously passed by Congress.  President Obama’s so-called Medicare reforms could lead to the rationing or denial of care for seniors on Medicare.

Unlike President Obama, our next president must protect Medicare, improve the program, and keep it sustainable for generations to come.  Several principles will guide my efforts.

First, Medicare should not change for anyone in the program or soon to be in it.  We should honor our commitments to our seniors.

Second, as with Social Security, tax hikes are not the solution.  We couldn’t tax our way out of unfunded liabilities so large, even if we wanted to.

Third, tomorrow’s seniors should have the freedom to choose what their health coverage looks like.  Younger Americans today, when they turn 65, should have a choice between traditional Medicare and other private healthcare plans that provide at least the same level of benefits. Competition will lower costs and increase the quality of healthcare for tomorrow’s seniors.

The federal government will help seniors pay for the option they choose, with a level of support that ensures all can obtain the coverage they need.  Those with lower incomes will receive more generous assistance.  Beneficiaries can keep the savings from less expensive options, or they can choose to pay more for a costlier plan.

Finally, as with Social Security, the eligibility age should slowly increase to keep pace with increases in longevity.

These ideas will give tomorrow’s seniors the same kinds of choices that most Americans have in their healthcare today.  The future of Medicare should be marked by competition, choice, and innovation—rather than bureaucracy, stagnation, and bankruptcy. Our path for the future of Social Security and Medicare is honesty and security, theirs is demagoguery and deception.

The plan I propose to make government simpler, smaller, and smarter represents the biggest fundamental change to the federal government in modern history.  It is a change we must make if the words “full faith and credit of the United States” are to mean anything at all.

We’re not the first people to come to this realization.  And we won’t be the first people to be criticized for believing that responsibility is a virtue.

President Ronald Reagan shared our conviction.  

In his first inaugural address, he said:

“It is not my intention to do away with government.  It is rather to make it work — work with us, not over us; stand by our side, not ride on our back.  Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.”

The task before us now is to reaffirm our conviction in the beliefs and values that unite us … in the challenges and opportunities that face us … and in the victory that awaits us.

Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless America.

Santorum the Culture Warrior



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Urbandale, Iowa — Speaking to dozens of supporters today in his campaign’s Iowa headquarters, Rick Santorum outlined a series of measures he would take as president to help promote a family-oriented and moral culture in the United States.

“I felt like, as I traveled around and talked to folks around Iowa, there was a common theme that came through from the meetings I had that was candidly a little diferent than what you’re hearing out there on the national stage,” he remarked, noting that he had now visited all 99 Iowa counties.

Speaking about the primary debates and the political commentary, Santorum observed that much of it was focused on tax and spending plans.

“But the people of Iowa, at least the folks that I’ve been talking to, they understand there is more to America than taxes and spending, there’s more to America than just the size and scale of government,” Santorum said. “That there are things that are the foundation of our country.  And of course, the foundation of that country is the fact that America is a moral enterprise, that America is built upon faith and family. Those are the pillars of our society.”

As president, Santorum pledged to reinstate the Mexico City policy, block any federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, veto any bill that included funding for abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood, and defend in the courts the Defense of Marriage Act. He also laid out what he would call on Congress to do, including abolishing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, put the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy back in place, and work to pass a Federal Marriage Amendment and a Personhood Amendment to the Constitution. His full plan can be read here.

“I hope that what I’ve talked about here resonates with not just the people of Iowa, but the people all over America,” he said.

Santorum appealed to voters consider him “if they want someone who, yes is concerned about national security, and has as much experience as anybody in that area … someone who has strong plans for growing this economy and for limiting government and repealing Obamacare and like, but [also] someone who understands that all of this intertwines into who we are as a people and culture.”

“We have to have strong familes and a strong culture to be able to support a strong and prosperous and free America,” he concluded.

Romney Would Tie with Obama



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Mitt Romney would tie with President Obama in a general election match-up, according to a Gallup poll released today of registered voters, 47 percent to 47 percent. When only voters from swing states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin), Romney edged out Obama by one point, 47 percent to 46 percent.

Herman Cain is polling two points behind Obama, 46 percent to 48 percent, in a national contest. He drops another point, down to 45 percent support, if swing state voters are polled, while Obama remains stable at 48 percent.

If Rick Perry was the general election candidate, he would lose by 4 points, 45 percent to Obama’s 49 percent. Among swing state voters, the results are 44 percent Perry to 49 percent Obama.

Over Two-Thirds of Republicans Say Cain Allegations Make No Difference to Vote



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In a poll conducted entirely after the sexual harassment allegations broke, Herman Cain is at 23 percent, just percentage point behind Mitt Romney’s 24 percent support, a gap within the Washington Post/ABC News poll’s 5.5 points margin of error.

Seven out of 10 Republicans or those leaning GOP said the allegations made “no difference” to whether they would vote for Cain. Asked if the charges were serious, 39 percent thought they were and 55 percent did not.

Rick Perry placed third in the poll at 13 percent, with Newt Gingrich just behind him at 12 percent. Ron Paul is in fifth place (8 percent), followed by Michele Bachmann (4 percent), and Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum (1 percent).

Over Two-Thirds of Republicans Say Cain Allegations Make No Difference to Vote



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In a poll conducted entirely after the sexual harassment allegations broke, Herman Cain is at 23 percent, just percentage point behind Mitt Romney’s 24 percent support, a gap within the Washington Post/ABC News poll’s 5.5 points margin of error.

Seven out of 10 Republicans or those leaning GOP said the allegations made “no difference” to whether they would vote for Cain. Asked if the charges were serious, 39 percent thought they were and 55 percent did not.

Rick Perry placed third in the poll at 13 percent, with Newt Gingrich just behind him at 12 percent. Ron Paul is in fifth place (8 percent), followed by Michele Bachmann (4 percent), and Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum (1 percent).

Perry Denies Campaign Leaked Cain Allegations



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“We found out about these allegations the same time I suspect everybody else did, read about them online and our campaign had absolutely nothing to do with it,” Rick Perry told RedState’s Erick Erickson in an interview. “I’m disappointed that there’s finger pointing going on.”

“There’s not anybody in my campaign that knew anything about this,” Perry added, noting that included anyone affiliated with the campaign “in any form or fashion.”

“End of story,” Perry continued. “This is one of those that’s about as clear cut as I can tell you. We found out about the allegations against Mr. Cain at the same time everybody else did.”

Perry Denies Alcohol or Painkiller Usage Before Speech



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The San Francisco Chronicle directly asks Rick Perry if he had a drink or two or was on painkiller meds (he had back surgery this summer) before giving his now infamous speech in New Hampshire Friday, and he denies it. Video:

Block: Perry Owes Cain ‘Apology’ for Leaking Allegations



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Mark Block, chief of staff for the Cain campaign, laid the blame for the leaks about the allegations about Cain squarely at the Perry campaign’s feet in an interview today.

“The actions of the Perry campaign are despicable,” Block told Fox News tonight. “Rick Perry and his campaign owe Herman Cain and his family an apology. Both the Rick Perry campaign and Politico did the wrong thing by reporting something that wasn’t true from anonymous sources. Like I said, they owe Herman Cain and his family an apology.”

Asked if he had any evidence, Block mentioned the fact that Cain had told Curt Anderson (who now works for Perry) about the accusations during his 2004 senate run. Cain accused Anderson earlier today; Anderson denied that he was. 

Block reiterated that Cain was innocent. “I asked Mr. Cain directly on numerous occasions whether [there was] anything to any of these allegations and he looked me square in the eye and said no,” Block said. “Mr. Cain has never committed any sexual harassment. Period. End of story.”

In response to the allegations from Iowa radio host Steve Deace that Cain made “inappropriate” remarks to two women working for Deace, Block said, “I would challenge anybody that has these statements to be made to come forward with the person making the statements. Face Mr. Cain.”

But when given a chance to call on the National Restaurant Association to waive the confidentiality agreements, Block refused to do so. “That’s totally up to the National Restaurant Association,” he said.

Perry Campaign Suggest Romney Camp Behind Cain Leaks



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From CBS News:

Perry’s communications director Ray Sullivan told CBS News, “No one at this campaign was involved in this story, and the first we knew about it was when we read Politico.”

Sullivan said no other staffers have said they had knowledge of the incidents at the NRA. He also volunteered a possible connection between the story and Mitt Romney:

“There are in blog postings around as well… discussing that Cain’s successor at the restaurant association is a big Romney donor and some of the board members… There are much closer ocnnections between the restaurant association, Cain and the Romney camp than there are with us.”

Asked about the accusation, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul e-mails, “Not true.” Herman Cain is accusing a Perry employee of being behind the leaks. 

IA Radio Host: Cain Made ‘Inappropriate’ Comments to Female Employees



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Iowa radio host Steve Deace, a prominent conservative, told Politico today that Herman Cain had made “awkward” and “inappropriate” comments to two women on his staff. Deace did not detail what Cain had said to the women. 

Barbour Advises Cain to Waive Confidentiality Agreements



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From the Associated Press:

“What are the facts?” asked Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on MSNBC. “If you have a confidentiality agreement that keeps the public from finding out something that the public is interested in knowing the facts, you ought to go on and get the facts out.”

“Herman Cain’s interest is getting this behind him,” added Barbour, a former Republican National Committee chairman.

From what I understand, the National Restaurant Association, not Herman Cain, would have to waive the confidentiality agreement. But Cain, so far, has not publicly called upon the NRA to waive the agreements. 

Cain Blames Former Senate Campaign Staffer, Now Perry Employee



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Herman Cain told Forbes that he believes Curt Anderson, who worked on his 2004 senate campaign and whose firm is now employed by the Perry campaign, is responsible for the leaks about the sexual harassment allegations. From Forbes:

“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.”

Curt Anderson phoned me to say “I never heard about this story until I read about it in Politico. I have nothing but good things to say about Herman Cain. I’m not going to bad-mouth Herman Cain to anyone, on or off the record. I think he is a guy of great leadership and integrity.”

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