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Tags: The Primary Event

Cain: ‘I Didn’t Change My Story’



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In an interview this morning, Herman Cain denied that he had altered his narrative yesterday.

Noting that the seeming discrepancy between his comment yesterday morning that he had not been aware of any settlement and his remarks in interviews taped later in the day in which he had acknowledged a settlement, Cain told HLN, “It looked like I changed my story.”

But he stressed, he had simply meant in the morning that he had been aware there was an agreement, but had not been certain that the agreement had been a settlement. “I didn’t change my story,” Cain said. “I just simply got the wording right.”

He said that his wife, Gloria, had been aware of the allegations at the time.

His supporters, Cain pointed out, had not defected despite the media firestorm over the allegations.

“It may affect my poll numbers, but most of our supporters have not been shaken by this whatsoever,” he said.

“Yesterday online, we had one of our highest fundraising days in the campaign,” Cain added. “One of the highest ever.”

Cain: ‘I Have No Idea Who’s Egging This On, Who’s On This Witch Hunt’



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“I believe this is coming up now because I’m doing so well in this Republican presidential campaign,” Herman Cain said in an interview tonight, noting he was in the “top tier” and “statistically tied with Mitt Romney.”

“I have no idea who’s egging this on, who’s on this witch hunt,” he told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren. “I am convinced, and my staff and I are convinced, that it is intended to one, distract us — and it is a distraction. Secondly, a lot of people have a problem with the fact that I’m doing so well and I’m so likeable. Third, since they cannot shoot holes in my proposals, my plans, they’re going to try to shoot holes in me, the candidate, so that’s the reason it’s coming up now.”

Asked if he had a “roaming eye,” Cain said, “I enjoy flowers like everybody else.”

“No, not at all,” he added. After another question, Cain clarified, “I wouldn’t say not at all. It depends on what you mean and the extent to which you mean.”

“I know I never made any innuendos with the lady that filed the [formal] complaint … None,” Cain continued, saying that the same was true about the other woman who had reportedly alleged sexual harassment charges.

He said that to his knowledge, there were no more sexual harassments charges against him.

“Is it possible that someone is going to make something up?” Cain asked. “Yes. But is it going to be credible, in terms of there was an actual sexual harassment case filed? No, because I would have known about it. … But I have no absolutely no doubt in my mind that there’s no other credible ones out there that could actually show up and okay, ‘here we go again.’ You won’t get a ‘here we go again’ because there isn’t anything.”

In reference to how his campaign had dealt with the Politico reporters, Cain said, “Why defend something before you know what it is that you have to defend? I’m glad that we waited, because they quoted three board members, who basically confirmed my character and my integrity.”

‘Weather Vane’



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Jon Huntsman targets Mitt Romney in a new web video:

Romney to Give Major Speech Friday



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From NBC News:

In what appears to be an attempt to solidify his support among Tea Party voters, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will deliver a “major spending policy speech” on Friday evening at the Americans for Prosperity’s Defending the American Dream Summit in Washington, according to his campaign. On Thursday, Romney will preview his spending policy in Exeter, NH, the campaign confirms.

Romney’s jobs plan was light on the details about how he planned to cut spending (he wants it to be no more than 20 percent of GDP, but for someone who could devote 59 points on job creation, was relatively vague in his plan about how and what he would cut to get spending down to that level). If he’s developed a more detailed look at how precisely he would cut spending, particularly as it relates to entitlement reform, that could help him among conservatives and the Mitch-Daniels-pining types. 

Cain’s Defense



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Herman Cain continued to defend himself against sexual harassment charges in an interview that aired on PBS tonight.

Commenting that both women in the Politico article had reported to one of Cain’s subordinates at the National Restaurant Association, Cain said that only one of the women had made a formal charge, which he said he told his general counsel to resolve.

“He did. Came back after several months, and said there’s no basis to it. She couldn’t find anyone to corroborate her story, so it was a false sexual harassment claim,” Cain said.

About the other woman, Cain said, “The other one I never even knew that there was a claim, formally or otherwise. Totally have no idea.”

He mentioned that with the woman who had filed the formal charge, he had told her that she was the same height as his wife. “The time when I did that it was in my office, the door was wide open, and my secretary was sitting right there as we were standing there and I made the little gesture,” Cain said of the incident. “Other than that, I can’t even recall what some of the other things were, and as I mentioned, they were all found to be baseless.”

“There was some mention of a hotel room at a convention or at a meeting,” asked PBS news host Judy Woodruff. “Did any one of these women, were they ever asked to meet you?

“That I absolutely do not recall,” Cain responded. “I have no recollection of that.”

In response to a question about whether there had been any “behavior on your part” that was “inappropriate,” Cain said, “In my opinion, no.”

“But as you would imagine, it’s in the eye of the person who thinks that maybe I crossed the line,” he continued. “I worked for the Department of the Navy, the Coca-Cola company, Pillsbury, Burger King, Godfather’s Pizza. Years and years and years of working in the business environment, working around men, women, all types of people, never, never accused of any sort of sexual harassment. I have never sexually harassed anyone. And so this false allegation to now come up is kind of baffling.”

Asked if any other similar charges had been made against him, Cain said, “None ever that I am aware of.”

“I was aware that an agreement was reached,” Cain remarked in response to a question about whether he knew the NRA had reached a settlement. “The word settlement versus the word agreement, you know, I’m not sure what they called it. I know that there was some sort of agreement, but because it ended up being minimal, they didn’t have to bring it to me. My general counsel and the head of Human Resources had the authority to resolve this thing.

“So it wasn’t one of those things where it got above a certain authority level and I had to sign it,” he added. “If I did and I don’t think I did, I don’t even remember signing it because it was minimal in terms of what the agreement was.”

Cain Now Remembers Settlement



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Herman Cain told Fox News today that “if the Restaurant Association did a settlement [related to the sexual harassment allegations], I wasn’t even aware of it.”

Now, according to the Washington’s Examiner’s Byron York, he told Greta Van Susteren, in an interview slated for tonight, that “My general counsel said this started out where she and her lawyer were demanding a huge financial settlement…I don’t remember a number…But then he said because there was no basis for this, we ended up settling for what would have been a termination settlement.” 

Cain added that he thought the settlement might have been “three months’ salary.”

“I don’t remember,” he said. “It might have been two months.  I do remember my general counsel saying we didn’t pay all of the money they demanded.”

The Cain campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Holes in Cain’s Explanation?



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When Herman Cain talked about what happened after he was accused of sexual harassment while at the National Restaurant Association during his appearance at the National Press Club today, he mentioned that the Human Resources department had been involved in handling the matter. Politico is reporting, however, that the woman who headed up the HR department when Cain was in charge denied last week that she knew anything about the allegations — and wouldn’t discuss the matter today in light of Cain’s statement. 

Before Beltway Conservatives, Cain Defends Tax Plan



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In an early-morning talk at the American Enterprise Institute, Herman Cain defended his 9-9-9 tax plan, adding that he isn’t just a “flavor of the week.”

“The momentum is coming from the grassroots and the people,” he said to a standing-room-only audience on Monday. “That’s why this ‘flavor of the week’ is now the ‘flavor of the month,’ and it still tastes good!”

Cain began defending his plan, arguing that anything would be better than the current system, and emphasizing the value of the proposal’s simplicity. “If the American people understand it, they will demand it,” he said. “This isn’t going to pass based upon my ability to persuade Congress alone. This is going to pass because of the strength and the voice of the American people. So we want it to be simple.”

He then offered the same defenses of the plan that he has presented in the presidential debates, arguing that his plan would add a 9 percent sales tax, but it would also cut the “invisible taxes” which raise the price of goods by 30 to 40 percent. And instead of burdening those living below the poverty level, his proposed “opportunity zones” would enable the poor to prosper.

Cain added that the government shouldn’t try to create fairness through tax exemptions. Instead, he said, the free market should determine who succeeds. “Leveling the playing field is the government’s role, in my opinion,” he said. “Level the playing field, let the free-market system, let people’s decisions determine what’s fair, not the government. Because when the government gets into picking winners and losers — can we say Solyndra? — when they get into that business, where does it stop?”

On that riff, Cain also took a jab at Gov. Rick Perry’s flat-tax plan, calling it “flat-tax light.” Instead of functioning like a pure flat tax, Perry’s plan preserves popular deductions in order to dodge critics, he said.

“I’m not interested in a plan that’s going to reduce criticism,” he added. “I’m interested in a plan that’s going to solve the problem.”

But despite exuding confidence and drawing applause and laughter from the audience, Cain left one important critic unsatisfied: Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform.

Kevin Hassett of AEI moderated a panel discussion after Cain’s talk which featured Norquist, as well as William Gale of the Brookings Institution, Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal, and Cain’s senior economic adviser, Rich Lowrie.

The panelists were hesitant to praise 9-9-9, especially Norquist, who argued that without a despot to keep taxes from going up, Cain’s proposal would only enable higher taxation, bringing “a possibility that these things would grow” above 9 percent. Instead, reformers should focus on “trimming the current system,” he said.

 

“And that’s strictly political,” Norquist added. “If you were a tsar, if you were probably one of Obama’s tsars, and you were able to set up a code and then nobody was able to have elections to change anything, you could have a conversation about that. But that’s not the way we work.”

He cited Connecticut and New Jersey as examples of places where flat taxes have gone awry. “Let’s not put ourselves in a position where we create additional taxes that can grow,” he said.

NRA Did Settle With One Woman over Allegations Against Cain



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One woman who alleged that Cain had sexually harassed her definitely received a cash settlement from the National Restaurant Association, reports NBC News.

Cain: ‘I Have Never Sexually Harassed Anyone’



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Herman Cain denied today that he had ever sexually harassed anyone.

“I have never sexually harassed anyone,” Cain told Fox News in an interview this morning. “Yes, I was falsely accused while I was at the National Restaurant association and I say falsely because it turned out, after the investigation to be baseless.”

Asked if he had ever settled in response to sexual harassment charges, Cain denied that he had done so, although he acknowledged the National Restaurant Association might have.

“Outside of the Restaurant Association, absolutely not,” Cain said. “If the Restaurant Association did a settlement, I wasn’t even aware of it, and I hope it wasn’t for much, because nothing happened. So if there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other offices that worked for me at the association, so the answer is absolutely not.”

“If more allegations come, I assure you, people will simply make them up,” he added. “I was aware of the false accusation that took place at the Restaurant Association and then when we were asked for me to comment, they wanted it to be from two anonymous sources. We weren’t going to go and chase anonymous sources.”

Speaking about the Politico piece, Cain urged people to read to the end.

“But take a look at the end of the article is what I encourage people to do,” he said. “And look at the people who have attested to my character and my integrity.”

UPDATE: Video of the interview:

Perry: ‘I’m a Doer, Not a Talker’



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Rick Perry’s new ad, in which he stresses the importance of actions over rhetoric (and teleprompter skills):

Cain Just Ahead of Perry in Texas



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In a poll released today, Herman Cain is polling one percentage point ahead of Rick Perry among Texas Republican voters, 27 percent to 26 percent.

The poll, which was conducted by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune, shows Cain and Perry far ahead of the rest of the pack. Ron Paul has 12 percent support, Mitt Romney 9 percent support, and Newt Gingrich is at 8 percent. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Gary Johnson and Jon Huntsman are at 2 percent or less.

University of Texas professor and poll co-director Daron Shaw told the Texas Tribune that “maybe the most important number is that Cain is up 37 percent to 24 percent among the most conservative voters. Perry wins with every other group.”

Cain Campaign: Allegations Part of ‘Smear Campaign’



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Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon dismissed the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain yesterday, arguing that the Politico story lacked “even a sourced allegation.”

“We’ve seen this movie played out before: It’s a prominent conservative leader targeted by liberals just because they disagree with his politics,” Gordon told Fox News host Geraldo Rivera last night. “Mr. Cain deserves better than this.”

In response to repeated questions from Rivera about whether women who had alleged sexual harassment from Cain had received cash pay-outs, Gordon did not directly answer, ultimately referring the question to the National Restaurant Association.  Gordon called the story line a “smear campaign” against Cain.

Video:

Perry ‘Not Worried’ About Beating Obama in Debates



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In an interview with Chris Wallace this morning, Rick Perry addressed the concerns that his poor debating meant President Obama could beat him in a debate during the general election.

Saying he was “not worried a bit,” about the prospect, Perry said, “I’ll be able to stand on the stage with Barack Obama and draw a very bright line, a real contrast between an individual who has lost two and a half million jobs for this country, someone who is signalling to our opponents when we’re going to pull out of  a particular war zone, an individual who has taken an experiment with the American economy and urned it into an absolute Frankenstein experience.”

“Oh, I think I’m going to be able to stand on that stage and draw a clear contrast with Barack Obama,” Perry added.

Perry’s campaign  told the Associated Press yesterday that Perry will attend at least five more debates, the four slated for November and one on December 1.

Video:

Perry, Having Fun on the Trail



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Via Time’s Mark Halperin, a video that highlights some of the moments in a speech Rick Perry gave last night in New Hampshire, and showcases Perry’s penchant for joshing around:

In Iowa, Cain and Romney Lead



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As Bob Costa noted, the new Des Moines Register poll shows Herman Cain and Mitt Romney leading the field.

One thing that strikes me is while of course, all these poll numbers are subject to change, they don’t seem to conform to the conventional wisdom that you need to be on the ground in the early states. Romney has barely spent any time in Iowa this cycle (although he did extensively campaign there in the previous cycle), and Cain’s (relative) paucity of Iowa visits has gotten attention. Michele Bachmann, who pulled off a win at the Ames Straw Poll which is supposed to show your strength on the ground, is in fourth place, 15 percentage points behind Cain (who finished fifth at Ames) and 14 behind Romney (who didn’t even compete at Ames). Ron Paul, too, although higher than Bachmann in the poll, does not appear to have the kind of support that a second-place Ames finisher (only 150 votes behind Bachmann) should have. And Rick Santorum, who is on the cusp of being able to say that he has visited all 99 counties in Iowa, is second to last.

Maybe this will all change, and on the night of the caucuses, we’ll see results that don’t look anything like the results of this poll. But if the results do look similar, and the candidates don’t change how often they are in the ground in Iowa, is that a bad thing? The argument I’ve heard is that it’s crucial for voters to talk to a candidate about all sort of issues and really get to know them. But, at least in my admittedly limited experience in attending campaign events in Iowa, that isn’t what happens for the most part. Sure, voters occasionally get to ask questions at town hall style meetings and sometimes if the candidate is schmoozing briefly after giving a speech, but between the little, if any, opportunity for follow-up questions and the fact that every candidate has been drilled to stay on message and has a go-to selection of phrases to weave together on just about any political topic, it’s hard to see that voters learn any more about a candidate than they would by watching them on their TV or computer. On message is on message in say, Iowa, Tennessee, or a Fox News studio.

On the other hand, while I’m skeptical about how much voters can learn about a candidate by seeing them in-person (due in large part to how campaigns structure these events), it does seem that an astute candidate could learn a lot just from hearing how voters express their concerns and at what angle they see current issues. So I’m certainly not proposing a media-only, or mostly-media campaign here, just questioning the value of shaking tens of thousands of hands in Iowa verse thousands.

UPDATE: Just for context, note that in October 2007 the results for this poll (via Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson) were: Mitt Romney (29 percent), Fred Thompson (18 percent), Mike Huckabee (12 percent), and Rudy Giuliani (11 percent). Obviously, the final caucus results were a wee bit different …

Will Analyzes Romney



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George Will’s full column on Mitt Romney is now up:

The Republican presidential dynamic — various candidates rise and recede; Mitt Romney remains at about 25 percent support — is peculiar because conservatives correctly believe that it is important to defeat Barack Obama but unimportant that Romney be president. This is not cognitive dissonance.

Obama, a floundering naif who thinks ATMs aggravate unemployment, is bewildered by a national tragedy of shattered dreams, decaying workforce skills and forgone wealth creation. Romney cannot enunciate a defensible, or even decipherable, ethanol policy. …

Every day, 10,000 baby boomers become eligible for Social Security and Medicare, from which they will receive, on average, $1 million of benefits ($550,000 from the former, $450,000 from the latter). Who expects difficult reforms from Romney, whose twists on ethanol make a policy pretzel?

Mark Block Gets Parodied



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Jon Huntsman’s daughters make a spoof of the now-famous Mark Block video:

‘Family’



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Rick Santorum releases a web video centered on his 3-year-old daughter Isabella, who has Trisomy 18, a medical condition similar to Down Syndrome:

‘Cut, Balance, and Grow’



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Via Hot Air, Rick Perry’s newest web video touts the praise his new tax plan got from Rush Limbaugh, the Wall Street Journal, and Paul Ryan: 

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