Tags: Herman Cain

Needed: Conservative Leaders in for the Long Haul


Sarah Palin chose to resign as governor of Alaska in 2009, and then declined to pursue a 2012 presidential bid.

After the 2012 election, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina stepped down as senator to head up the Heritage Foundation.

In Florida, Allen West lost his bid for reelection to Congress in 2012, and he now serves as “Director of Next Generation Programming” at PJ Media and is a contributor to Fox News.

Now Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has decided to retire from Congress.

Joe Scarborough cites Palin, West, Bachmann, and Hermain Cain and argues that their ascents and declines illustrate how “flamboyance” rarely translates into a lasting political impact.

Of course, flamboyance doesn’t necessarily mean political doom. Congress and the governors’ mansions still include plenty of Republicans who are hardly shrinking violets: Senators ;Rand Paul, Tom Coburn, and Tim Scott, Representatives Darrell Issa, Jason Chaffetz, and Steve King, Governors Nikki Haley, Scott Walker, and Bobby Jindal. Virginia’s attorney general and GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli might fit that bill.

But the conservative movement probably ought to examine why some of their most prominent leaders elected to high office voluntarily depart the scene when they would seem to still have a lot of metaphorical gas left in the tank. Running for reelection is difficult — particularly difficult, as West learned, when the district lines shift, or if one’s state or district isn’t as certain in its embrace of conservatism as you are. Being a leader outside of office, giving paid speeches, doing media appearances, writing books . . . that’s much easier on the officeholder, his or her personal finances, and their family.

It’s hard to blame someone for wanting the less difficult path. And yet, it’s much harder for the conservative movement to move the ball forward if its leaders depart after a while.

Tags: Michele Bachmann , Allen West , Sarah Palin , Jim DeMint , Herman Cain

The Early Outlines of Georgia’s 2014 Senate Race


According to Viral Read, Representative Paul Broun is in for Georgia’s 2014 Senate race.

Tonight was a night of surprises for anyone who attended the Georgia C.H.A.R.G.E. (Citizens Helping America Restore Government Ethics) meeting in Gwinnett county. Luckily, ViralRead was on the scene with a front row seat to all the fireworks. The surprise, however, didn’t come from the keynote speaker, former Secretary of State and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel. Moments before the meeting was underway Congressman Paul Broun (R-Athens) shocked the crowd as he walked into the room with his wife, Niki Broun, and a top-level staffer.

Jaws hit the floor as Representative Broun took the stage and began discussing the usual/current problems in Washington: Congressional gridlock, damage made to the Republican brand, as well as the lack of leadership coming from the West Wing. As the speech wound down, most folks in the audience were looking at one another, presumably thinking the same thing: Is Congressman Broun going to state his case and make his formal announcement to run to replace retiring Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss? To everyone’s dismay, his closing statement did no such thing.

Thankfully, this isn’t where the story ended. As Congressman Broun sat down to a room full of applause followed my a short silence, Dr. Broun’s wife, Niki, stood up in front of the crowd and courageously declared that not only did her husband have her permission and support to run to be Georgia’s next junior U.S. Senator, but that he was openly announcing his candidacy, the first to formally do so in the wake of Senator Chambliss’ declaration to resign following the remainder of his current term.

Meanwhile, former governor Sonny Perdue declares he will not run for the seat.

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain and Red State editor/former Macon city councilman Erick Erickson have declared they’re not interested, either.

Newt Gingrich said that he would not run, but he had spoken to Representative Tom Price, who told him that he probably plans to run to replace Chambliss.

Representative Jack Kingston is also making some noise.

Some folks are already polling the state:

According to a telephone poll of 1,027 Republican voters by GOP consultant Todd Rehm’s, more than 22 percent of respondents would like to see former Gov. Sonny Perdue take Chambliss’ seat in the Senate. Karen Handel, the former Georgia secretary of state and unsuccessful gubernatorial hopeful, came in second to the former governor. Nearly 25 percent of the survey’s respondents said they were undecided.

In addition, Florida-based HEG On-Target Solutions and Apache Political, a metro Atlanta Republican consulting firm, also polled voters about the race, which is nearly two years away. The poll found that nearly 40 percent of voters would likely support former businessman and failed presidential candidate Herman Cain in the contest. There’s a wide gulf between Cain and his nearest potential challenger, Congressman Tom Price, R-Roswell, who garnered 8 percent of the responses. Cain, however, has said he’s not interested in serving in the U.S. Senate. More than 22 percent of voters were undecided.

Democrats, however, say they’re more likely to vote for Mayor Kasim Reed, were he to jump into what’s sure to be a crowded pack of candidates. The well-connected former state lawmaker turned city’s chief executive was selected by more than 25 percent of the respondents over former Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond and Congressman John Barrow, D-Augusta, among others. More than 20 percent of the survey’s 1,234 respondents were unsure who’d earn their vote.

Tags: Herman Cain , Jack Kingston , Kasim Reed , Paul Broun , Saxby Chambliss , Sonny Perdue , Tom Price

Mark Block’s Smoking Ad, 2.0?


Mark Block, Herman Cain’s former campaign manager and trusted aide, tells me there will be a sequel to his famous “smoking” ad.

“If the last one was a four, this one will be a nine . . . point nine nine,” he laughs.

Tags: Herman Cain , Mark Block

Do Suspended Campaigns Traditionally Endorse Rivals?


Today’s Jolt also discusses Herman Cain’s departure from the race — well, suspension — and his expected endorsement of Newt Gingrich. This morning brings word that the endorsement could come later today.

In a way, this seems to summarize much of the confusion that has surrounded the Cain’s “reassessment” in recent days; if you’re endorsing someone else, your campaign is over. As one of my regular readers, Joseph DeMatino tried to sort out:

So Cain has “suspended”, not “cancelled”, his campaign. But he’s going to endorse another candidate shortly. How does that work, exactly? “Hi, I’m Herman Cain, and I’m running for President. Please vote for Newt Gingrich.”

I must be missing something here.

Herman needs to quit outright or fight on full force. There is no middle ground. As the defrocked shrink says in the sadly underrated Dead Again (to a guy who is always “trying to quit smoking”) — “Look, you’re either a smoker or you’re not a smoker. Figure out which one you are, and then ‘be’ that.” Or, as a more famous movie mentor in a better-known film said, “Do. Or do not. There is no ‘try’.”

“Vote for me! Or the other guy! I’m giving you a menu of options!”

It sounds like it didn’t take Cain long on who he wanted to endorse — maybe fifteen minutes, or about 999 seconds.

Tags: Herman Cain , Newt Gingrich

Herman Cain: While I’m Reassessing, Please Send Me Money


Herman Cain just sent this e-mail to his supporters:

As I assess the future of my campaign, I need to gauge the support of the people of this great nation.

I am inviting you to share your voice with me, my family and staff, and the nation. In short, I need to know that you are behind me 100%.  In today’s political environment, the only way we can gauge true support is by the willingness of our supporters to invest in this effort. Will you invest by sharing your personal story with me? I need to hear why you chose to become a Cain supporter and how you feel I can help this nation by serving as President. Please send a short video or email to: [email protected] to tell me your story.

There are three audiences in a political campaign: The media, the political establishment, and the people. The first two never gave our campaign much credence, but the people of this great nation showed their eagerness for a non-establishment candidate with common sense solutions and the courage to lead. I chose to listen to the people, which is what I will do if I am elected your President.

Please share your story with me. And please consider making a generous donation to my campaign.  I need to know if you are still beside me in this battle. Please let me hear from you today. Thank you.

Er, if he’s reassessing, why should his supporters send money? Why give money to a candidate who could (conceivably) leave the race any day now?

Full version below:


Dear Friends and Supporters,

I recently wrote asking for your prayers and support regarding my campaign for the Presidency.  I have been touched by the outpouring of encouragement that you, my friends and most loyal supporters, have provided to me, my family, and my campaign staff. Over the last couple of days we have received numerous emails, text messages, and phone calls urging me to press onward and stay in the race.

Every word of support is sincerely appreciated.  As the media has reported, my team and I are assessing my campaign and my candidacy.  We have had similar meetings multiple times during my campaign journey.  As any good businessman, I want to analyze and understand my strengths and weaknesses, upcoming opportunities, and current threats.

One of the greatest strengths of my campaign has always been my loyal supporters.  From the beginning of my campaign (when I had nearly no name ID), my supporters have been committed and enthusiastic about a Cain presidency. They believe in my ideas to put America back to work, my bold “9-9-9 Plan” for economic recovery, my vision for energy independence, and my “Cain Doctrine” for foreign policy, which focuses on Peace through Strength and Clarity.

As I assess the future of my campaign, I need to gauge the support of the people of this great nation.I am inviting you to share your voice with me, my family and staff, and the nation. In short, I need to know that you are behind me 100%.  In today’s political environment, the only way we can gauge true support is by the willingness of our supporters to invest in this effort.

Will you invest by sharing your personal story with me? I need to hear why you chose to become a Cain supporter and how you feel I can help this nation by serving as President. Please send a short video or email to: [email protected] to tell me your story.

There are three audiences in a political campaign: The media, the political establishment, and the people. The first two never gave our campaign much credence, but the people of this great nation showed their eagerness for a non-establishment candidate with common sense solutions and the courage to lead. I chose to listen to the people, which is what I will do if I am elected your President.

Please share your story with me. And please consider making a generous donation to my campaign.  I need to know if you are still beside me in this battle. Please let me hear from you today. Thank you.


Herman Cain

Tags: Herman Cain

Herman Cain Doesn’t Want to Be the Next Tim Pawlenty


An epic-length Morning Jolt is in the editors’ hands, laying out the details behind yesterday’s mysterious e-mail from Newt Gingrich, how Barney Frank is helping dash Nancy Pelosi’s dreams, and a few thoughts on what Republicans probably believe and what they ought to believe. And then, of course, there’s the other big news of the morning . . .

The Cain Train Wonders about Its Future Scheduled Stops

Our own Bob Costa wins the day with the big scoop:

“Obviously, you’re all aware of this recent firestorm that hit the news yesterday,” Cain began, his voice somber. “First thing I want to do is say to you what I have said publicly: I deny those charges, unequivocally. Secondly, I have known this lady for a number of years. And thirdly, I have been attempting to help her financially because she was out of work and destitute, desperate. So, thinking that she was a friend — and I have helped many friends — I now know that she wasn’t the friend that I thought she was. But it was a just a friendship relationship.”

“That being said, obviously, this is cause for reassessment,” he continued . . .

“Over the next several days, we are going to continue with the schedule as usual,” he said. “I’ve got a major speech tonight at Hillsdale College on national security and foreign policy, and I will deliver it with vim, vigor, and enthusiasm. And then tomorrow we’ve got some media appearances scheduled. So we’re going to continue until we complete our assessment over the next several days.”

My guess is that you won’t see a Cain departure from the race until A) he’s consistently polling in the low single digits or B) his contributions dry up and he can’t afford to continue, or both. You don’t run for president without ever having been elected to public office unless you are extremely optimistic about your ability to overcome long odds, and you don’t continue a presidential bid when a handful of your former coworkers have accused you of sexual harassment unless you are determined to soldier on amidst adversity. The amount of optimism required by Cain isn’t that much more than it was a few days ago.

Ace, writing at Ace of Spades: “My theory is that all of these guys are haunted by the Ghost of Tim Pawlenty, and most will be very reluctant to get out of the race until, say, Florida, or after. In a volatile race, you’re just one news cycle from being on top. Or being on the bottom. No one can really know. Cain might get out because there are other factors here (like just not wanting to deal with these questions, and strains on the home front), but as a general matter people are going to be very reluctant to formally drop out. Even no-hope candidates will keep a skeleton, ‘notional’ candidacy going, because, you never know. Campaigns may be suspended, but won’t be ended, and I don’t even think they’ll be announced as suspended. At least not until it’s well-nigh-inarguable that someone is really, definitely not going to have a swell of sudden support, and I don’t know how you would have that confidence.”

In response to some Cain defenders dismissing the latest accuser because of her financial troubles, the boss observes, “if there’s one thing I learned from spending a lot of time reviewing Bill Clinton’s career, it’s that women who get entangled with married men in this way usually aren’t pictures of probity.”

The Great Recession: A booming market for philanderers! No wonder Bill Clinton wrote a book about how the economy needs Obama to win another term!

Tags: Herman Cain

In Campaign Merchandise, Cain Slipping Fast, Newt Rising Slowly


According to the folks at CafePress, Herman Cain’s momentum is falling pretty quickly . . . and Newt Gingrich is picking up some steam, albeit much slower than Cain is losing his share of the candidate-paraphernalia market.

CafePress is a website where users can design and produce their own merchandise — t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, etc. CafePress touts itself as a “cultural barometer,” and the company has set up an “Election Meter” that tracks merchandise-sales trends for each presidential candidate.

This week, the CafePress Election Meter reports,

Herman Cain-tagged merchandise sales nosedive by 62 percent since October 17 with Cain-related products falling a dramatic 38 percent since last week. Meanwhile, for the first time during this campaign, Newt Gingrich-tagged merchandise sales on CafePress have risen two points, from 4 percent to 6 percent.

Unsurprisingly, it appears that t-shirts and other products tend to reflect the direction seen in opinion polls — as a candidate gets more name recognition and popularity, there is more demand for the paraphernalia.

Notice that Mitt Romney is not actually that high, mired in the single digits. It may be that some candidates’ supporters are buying their bumper stickers and knickknacks through the candidates’ web sites . . . or it might just be that Romney fans aren’t all that enthusiastic about their guy. The consistent high share of Ron Paul in these metrics suggests that it is a useful measuring stick of passion, not necessarily of the GOP primary electorate as a whole.

Rick Perry has seen a free fall in these figures, mirroring his national poll numbers.

Tags: Herman Cain , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Ron Paul

War-Gaming the GOP Early Contests, Six Weeks Out


I join my NR colleagues on the cruise tomorrow, but for the week, a thought or two, war-gaming out the upcoming GOP primaries . . .

It is mid-November. Iowa Republicans vote in their caucus on January 3, roughly six weeks away.

And we’re still not sure if Mitt Romney is going to make a serious push at Iowa. (Increasingly, it appears he will; the Des Moines Register writes about evangelicals giving him a second look here.)

It’s almost unthinkable that a candidate who has a decent shot at winning the first contest wouldn’t choose to make a serious effort to win, but we live in strange times. Romney has visited only four times so far, but in the RealClearPolitics average, he trails Herman Cain by six tenths of a percentage point; Romney’s been a solid second in most polls and leads in the most recent CNN/Time survey.

At first glance, Romney has to compete. How would you describe a candidate who chose to not try to win the first contest when he’s barely behind because it wasn’t part of his campaign’s original scripted strategy? Hesitant? Too cautious? Cowardly? A half-hearted effort in Iowa, and a decision to keep the Romney campaign’s focus on New Hampshire, would be the most small-c conservative approach to campaigning in recent memory.

And yet . . . winning Iowa might set up its own problem for Romney. The recent history of presidential primaries suggests that the purpose of New Hampshire is to negate Iowa. In fact, the best way to ensure you lose New Hampshire appears to be to win Iowa:

2008: Iowa winner: Mike Huckabee. New Hampshire winner: John McCain.

2000: Iowa winner: George W. Bush. New Hampshire winner: John McCain.

1996: Iowa winner: Bob Dole. New Hampshire winner: Pat Buchanan.

1988: Iowa winner: Bob Dole. New Hampshire winner: George H.W. Bush.

1980: Iowa winner: George H. W. Bush. New Hampshire winner: Ronald Reagan.

This is a bipartisan phenomenon; look at the Democrats:

2008: Iowa winner: Barack Obama. New Hampshire winner: Hillary Clinton.

2004: Iowa winner: John Kerry. New Hampshire winner: John Kerry.

1992: Iowa winner: Tom Harkin. New Hampshire winner: Paul Tsongas.

1984: Iowa winner: Walter Mondale. New Hampshire winner: Gary Hart.

(Yes, John Kerry somehow did what no other non-incumbent, non-vice-president candidate has done since 1980.)

If Romney wins Iowa, will New Hampshire voters be determined to reject Iowa’s choice?

Obviously, as they say in those investment-fund commercials, past performance does not predict future results. And Romney’s lead in New Hampshire has been huge and consistent. But consciously or subconsciously, New Hampshire voters hate to confirm the choice of Iowa. If the Granite State rubber-stamps the choice of the Iowa caucus-goers, won’t that make Iowa even more important four years later? If Iowa is the real contest, why would candidates and campaigns shower New Hampshire voters with visits and attention and ads and spending?

Herman Cain is still doing well in New Hampshire, and this is one of Ron Paul’s stronger states. But one of the candidates who have done reasonably well here is . . . Jon Huntsman — until now, mostly an afterthought and punch-line of this campaign.

Huntsman is so thoroughly determined to demonstrate his devotion to the New Hampshire voters that he alone can say, “I boycotted candidate debates for you.” Remember, there will be no significant Democratic presidential primary, and unaffiliated voters can and do vote in party primaries. (The deadline to switch your party registration for the presidential primary was October 14.) Granite State residents can register to vote until January 3.

So suppose Romney wins Iowa, New Hampshire is determined to avoid a coronation, and so the independents and Democrats cross over and fuel Huntsman to a New Hampshire primary victory. (It feels like that kind of an unpredictable, wild-unexpected-swing cycle, no?) Then the action would move to South Carolina, where conservatives would probably be apoplectic at the thought that the top two contenders for the GOP nomination were Romney, derided as an unprincipled flip-flopper, and then Huntsman, widely perceived to be the one guy clearly to the left of Romney. They would then consolidate around one of the remaining Not-Mitt, Not-Jon options . . .

Right now, the leading Not-Mitt option is Herman Cain. But by January 21, Herman Cain may look a little weaker, depending on how he finishes in Iowa and whether the harassment claims stick to him. So currently running third in South Carolina is . . . Newt Gingrich. If Iowa’s results knock out Bachmann or Santorum, and if Perry is widely perceived to be kaput . . . wouldn’t Gingrich be in the best position to win over their supporters? And if Cain’s backers waver, wouldn’t Gingrich, the fellow Georgian, be a likely second choice for them?

Under this scenario, Republicans would go to the polls on January 31 in Florida, with a winner-take-all primary, with three winners in three primaries: Romney in Iowa, Huntsman in New Hampshire, and Gingrich in South Carolina.

Tags: Herman Cain , Iowa , Jon Huntsman , Mitt Romney , New Hampshire , Newt Gingrich , South Carolina

Hilton Hotels: We Will Not Release Any Information on Cain Stays or Upgrades


David Trumble, senior director for corporate communications for the Hilton hotel chain, replies to my inquiry on whether Herman Cain ever rented or upgraded to a suite in their Washington hotel in July 1997: “The hotel has a privacy policy which prohibits releasing specific information regarding guests. Thank you for your understanding.”

I elaborated on how this information could corroborate or contradict the claims of Herman Cain’s accusers here.

Tags: Herman Cain

The Unasked Questions at Herman Cain’s Press Conference


Herman Cain has completed his press conference… which could have used questions like, “Did you rent or upgrade a hotel suite during the time period in question? If you did, why did you rent a luxury suite in a hotel in a city where you lived at the time?”

I am continuing to ask the Hilton if they have those records (it was 14 years ago). If he did not upgrade her suite as she claims, her credibility is damaged. If he did… his claims of not remembering everything about her will seem harder to believe.

Other questions that were not asked:

“When former colleagues ask you for help in finding a job, do you often take them to dinner, just the two of you?”

“Mr. Cain, how do you define ‘inappropriately’? Could those who worked under you define that term differently?”

“Are these the only two settlements with former employees in your career as a manager?”

Instead, reporters asked hard-hitting questions like, “Do you believe sexual harassment is real?” and asking Cain what he thought of Mitt Romney’s terse but disapproving comment about the allegations today.

In the discussion afterwards, Republican strategist Alex Castellanos emphasizes how much he likes Herman Cain, but notes that Cain said that there may be additional accusations to come and that those are untrue as well, a point he finds troubling.

Tags: Herman Cain

The Allegations Against Herman Cain Take a Specific Twist


On Friday afternoon, I wrote that without details from his accusers, Herman Cain must be deemed “innocent,” or at least that charges that are both anonymous and unspecified cannot be considered significant enough to derail a presidential campaign. The American people cannot put their faith in, ’I won’t say what he did, but trust me, he’s guilty of wrongdoing.’

Now we have charges that are specific and no longer anonymous.

A Chicago woman just told reporters that in a 1997 encounter with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain in Washington, D.C., he reached under her skirt and tried to pull her head toward his crotch.

A Cain spokesman calls the story “more false accusations.”

Sharon Bialek, who said she had come to Cain for employment advice, claimed he took her out to dinner and then in his car “suddenly reached over and put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals.” Then, she said, he “grabbed my head and brought it toward his crotch.”

When she objected, Bialek said, Cain said at first “you want a job, right?” Then he took her back to her hotel.

Bialek was introduced at her press conference by attorney Gloria Allred. To say Gloria Allred’s reputation is shaky is to say Bill Clinton had an interest in the opposite sex. Some will conclude that anyone who hires Allred as a lawyer is after publicity, and is not to be trusted. But that’s a non sequitor; a truthful person can hire Allred as easily as a liar.

If she’s telling the truth, Herman Cain is a creep (and probably guilty of what legally would be considered misdemeanor sexual abuse, defined as sexual contact without the other person’s permission). If she’s lying, she’s trying to destroy the man’s presidential campaign and reputation over… some as-yet-unknown motive.

I’ve put in a call to the Washington Hilton; one aspect of Bialek’s story should be fairly easy to verify, presuming the Hilton Corporation holds records from 1997: did Herman Cain rent a suite at the Capital Hilton in Washington D.C.?

Tags: Herman Cain

With No Specifics to the Accusations, Herman Cain Wins This Fight


Joel Bennett, the lawyer for one of the former employees of the National Restaurant Association who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment, spoke to Wolf Blitzer live on CNN moments ago.

Bennett said that in his legal opinion, what occurred between Cain and his client met the legal definition of sexual harassment. But despite repeated questions from Blitzer, he refused to specify what the alleged actions were, and he said his client would not be appearing to shed any further light on the matter.

When Blitzer pointed out Cain’s vehement, blanket denial, Bennett replied, “In all my years of lawyering, I’ve never seen anyone accused of sexual harassment say, ‘I did it.’”

In short, Mr. Bennett is arguing, ’I won’t say what he did, but trust me, he’s guilty of wrongdoing.’ This is ridiculous. To Politico, the public is supposed to take this into account in their assessment of Cain but we can’t even get any sense of what triggered the original complaint, and whether this was much ado about nothing or whether Cain actually did something wrong.

Without the basic details, the public cannot take this into account in their assessment of Cain, or ought not to. Despite all the drama of the week, we know about as much as we did Monday. Two employees made complaints, but we don’t really know much about what the complaints were. Was there some bad behavior on Cain’s part? Were the NRA payments just designed to avoid the cost of litigating the claims? Who knows?

“It’s over, from our perspective,” Bennett said of the controversy.

Yes, this story ought to be over. While this story does not reassure much about Herman Cain and his campaign – i.e., blaming Perry, walking back the accusation, then having Cain seem to walk back the walk back – he’s been wronged by having a politically damaging accusation widely aired but never being able to cross-examine his accuser or refute the charges.

Tags: Herman Cain

Cain, Obama, and the Economy: How Narratives Get Crafted


Another terrific example of how an exceptionally modest bit of improvement in economic data is used to justify a preferred media narrative, from Reuters:

There have also been signs that the U.S. economic recovery, expected to be the most important issue in the 2012 election, is on track. On Wednesday, data showed U.S. private employers added more jobs than expected last month, and Friday’s monthly unemployment report showed that the U.S. jobless rate ticked downward to 9 percent from September’s 9.1 percent rate.

That’s in a piece, entitled “Republican sexual harassment furor boosts Obama,” that offers a somewhat plausible theory without citing much direct data to support that idea.

It mentions the Quinnipiac poll from this week, the one that used a much more heavily Democratic sample:

The sample of voters to whom Quinnipiac talked in the new poll is significantly more Democratic — and less Republican — than the early October survey. In the current poll, 35 percent of respondents identified as Democrats, 22 percent as Republicans and 36 percent as independents, according to data provided to National JournalWednesday morning. In the early October poll, 31 percent of respondents were Democrats, 28 percent were Republicans and 33 percent were independents.

(For reference: In 2008, according to exit polls, 39 percent of voters identified as Democrats, 32 percent identified as Republicans and 29 percent identified as independents. In the 2010 midterm elections; the percentages of Democrats and Republicans were equal; midterm elections typically feature higher Republican turnout.)

By the way, that poll was conducted before the Politico story about Cain broke.

Otherwise, the story quotes David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, Republican strategist Ford O’Connell, Democratic strategist Greg Haas, and Christopher Arterton, a professor at George Washington University who has been a Democratic consultant.

Now, it is true that time spent discussing what Cain did or did not do with several former employees is time not spent making an argument against Obama. But if Cain doesn’t get the nomination, this is largely moot — I remain unconvinced that some Cain-backing conservatives will stay home on Election Day 2012 to protest how some GOP rival treated this issue — and if he does, it suggests that this story, with all of its remaining known unknowns and unknown unknowns, will be a larger factor in voters’ minds than, say, Obama’s performance since taking office.

Tags: Barack Obama , Economy , Herman Cain , Reuters

Sanford Revised Her Pro-Cain Column, but Only Slightly


Chris Haire, managing editor of the Charleston (South Carolina) City Paper, writes in to share the news that Jenny Sanford, former wife of the former governor of the Palmetto State and a figure who knows about media frenzies over allegations of sexual misconduct, was given the opportunity to revise her pro–Herman Cain column in The State newspaper in light of this week’s revelations.

Sanford did alter the column . . . but only slightly.

Scoppe told me that she had received the op-ed last week and had originally planned to run it yesterday, Wed. [Nov.]. 2. However, following the release of the Cain allegations, Scoppe contacted Sanford to see if she wanted to make any changes.

As if turns out, Sanford did tweak the op-ed, but only barely.

Consider this line from the original P&C op-ed:

If the press would spend more time honestly airing thoughtful proposals that are put forth instead of highlighting the best debate quips, we might have a truly interesting race with serious choices.

Here’s how it reads in today’s issue of The State:

If the media would spend more time honestly airing detail on the thoughtful proposals that are put forth instead of highlighting the best debate quips or the newest allegations, perhaps we might have a truly interesting race with serious choices.

In the latest version, Sanford acknowledges the allegations. But other than that, the op-ed is more or less the same.

In other words, Sanford had the opportunity to withdraw or dramatically alter her pro-Cain piece . . . and chose not to.

Tags: Herman Cain , Jenny Sanford

New TV Ad for Cain: ‘A High-Tech Lynching’


A pugnacious new ad from the Cain team:

The ad explicitly compares Cain and his recent controversy to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

I am told the plan is to get on TV in Iowa next week with it and also drop about a million calls into Iowa and Nevada starting tomorrow with the same message.

This is from Americans for Herman Cain, which has “established a non-connected political committee that is established and registered with the Federal Election Commission. The committee supports the Federal candidacy of Herman Cain for President and is not a separate segregated fund; a party committee; nor is the committee authorized by any candidate or candidate committee. Paid for by 9-9-9 Fund. UNLIMITED contributions from either personal or corporate funds are acceptable.”

Tags: Clarence Thomas , Herman Cain

Herman Cain Defended by a Familiar Name in South Carolina


I’ll take “Unexpected Defenders of Herman Cain” for 500, Alex:

Let’s not forget the media. Over-focused as they are on the small, the controversial and the sensational, they will focus on the arrows being thrown at candidates and their proposals instead of challenging others to propose new solutions. If the media would spend more time honestly airing detail on the thoughtful proposals that are put forth instead of highlighting the best debate quips or the newest allegations, perhaps we might have a truly interesting race with serious choices. Sadly, the media give air to the attacks, thus spurring more attacks.

I know this story well. A “fresh face” appears on the political scene and puts forth new proposals that challenge the status quo and then is attacked viciously on his proposals and then his character. Many of these challengers don’t make it; some shouldn’t. Others win and fight to improve things in our nation only to be worn down over time, to tire of fighting the system, becoming more cautious, political and hollow. Thus the system creates empty suits, adept at giving sound-bites to the media and talking points to voters and raising money to be reelected. Understandably, few modern-day politicians put forth big ideas or proposals to truly shrink or reform our government, preferring instead to obfuscate or to punt to committees. Thank you Herman Cain for running and for inspiring better dialogue.

Those words of praise from Herman Cain come from . . . Jenny Sanford, formerly the wife of former governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina. The governor had his own infamous, and surprising, allegations of sexual misconduct.

Her op-ed praising Cain appeared in The State newspaper today.

UPDATE: Ah-ha:

The op-ed column by Jenny Sanford in praise of Herman Cain was offered for print in the South Carolina press a week ago — well before allegations of sexual harassment against Cain became public.

It sure would be nice if The State editors indicated this was the case anywhere in her column.

Tags: Herman Cain , Jenny Sanford

Controversy Punishes Cain All the Way to Frontrunner Status


Herman Cain leads nationally . . .

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain leads the Republican presidential primary field with 30 percent, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 23 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 10 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry with 8 percent, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds. No other candidate tops 7 percent.

and in Iowa . . .

Herman Cain and Mitt Romney top The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll, with the retired pizza executive edging the former Massachusetts governor 23 percent to 22 percent in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

and in South Carolina . . .

In South Carolina, businessman Herman Cain leads the GOP field with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney ten points behind. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the only other candidate in double digits. The survey was conducted on Tuesday night following two days of media coverage concerning allegations of sexual harassment against Cain.

. . . and his fundraising is booming since Monday: “$400,000 in the last 24 hours.”

So far, the sexual-harassment allegation is the best thing to happen to his campaign. Perhaps we’ll see the longer-shots insisting they’ve been accused of harassment, too.

Tags: Herman Cain

Quinnipiac Poll Sees Boost for Obama Nationally


In other polling news, Quinnipiac finds Obama rising, Cain rising, and Romney losing some ground:

President Barack Obama’s job approval rating is up, from a negative 41 – 55 percent October 5, to a split today with 47 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving in a Quinnipiac University poll released today. The president has leads of 5 to 16 percentage points over likely Republican challengers.

Voters also are divided 47 – 49 percent on whether Obama deserves reelection, compared to last month, when voters said 54 – 42 percent he did not deserve reelection.

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain leads the Republican presidential primary field with 30 percent, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 23 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 10 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry with 8 percent, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds. No other candidate tops 7 percent.

Cain leads a head-to-head GOP race with Romney 47 – 39 percent, coming close to the critical 50 percent mark, even though more Republicans think Romney has the knowledge and experience to be president.

“President Barack Obama seems to be improving in voters’ eyes almost across-the-board,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “He scores big gains among the groups with whom he has had the most problems — whites and men.”

Women also shift from a five-point negative to a four-point positive.

Is it the jobs plan? Obama’s tougher rhetoric at his fundraisers and not-a-campaign bus tour in swing states and not-a-campaign tour across the west? Or dribs and drabs of economic data that suggest we’re not headed to a double-dip recession?

Tags: Barack Obama , Herman Cain , Mitt Romney

Will There Ever Be a Consensus ‘Not-Mitt’ Candidate?


From the midweek Morning Jolt . . .

The Only Thing That Stopped the Pawlenty Momentum Was Tim Pawlenty

Poor Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty-mania kicks in, roughly two months after he leaves the race.

First, from Jonah: “Looking back on the events of 2011, who do you think has more regrets for his bad decisions, Hosni Mubarak or former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty? . . . All Pawlenty did was blow his entirely plausible shot at the presidency. Let’s hop into the way-back machine. Pawlenty’s plan was to be the alternative to Mitt Romney. He launched a huge political operation, perhaps to scare off other candidates, which required an equally huge fundraising effort to sustain it. In order to justify the money he was asking of donors, he had to do well in the Iowa straw poll in August. He came in third to Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. Pawlenty quit the race the next day. Tactically, Pawlenty’s mistakes are too numerous to count. But strategically, Pawlenty had the right idea: Be the most electable candidate to the right of Romney.”

. . . I don’t think we can argue that he really didn’t get a chance to shine, or enough time in the debates, or that somehow Republicans didn’t take a good enough look at him.

We scoff at Romney’s ironclad twenty-something percent in primary polls, but you notice that to the remaining seventy to eighty percent, there is no real consensus on who the alternative to Romney ought to be. Even when you go down the list of alternatives who didn’t run — Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie — the anti-Mitt crowd splits.

I realize blogging means you get a skewed perspective of the political world from your feedback. The folks who write in aren’t representative of the public as a whole or Republicans as a whole or even necessarily of NRO readers as a whole. They’re the ones who feel most motivated to write in and tell me how much I stink helpfully suggest flaws in my thinking. So I preface this observation with the recognition that perhaps I end up with an incomplete view of the thinking of the majority of Republican primary voters. But right now, the Anybody But Mitt crowd to me looks like a mix of Perry fans who can’t believe any conservative could seriously support those jokers Cain and Bachmann, Cain fans who can’t believe anybody could back that loser Perry and that loon Bachmann, Bachmann fans who can’t believe everybody’s jumped off the bandwagon of the one true conservative fighter, Newt fans who can’t believe everybody makes such a big deal of his marital difficulties, and so on. I’m not sure anybody has much of a second choice right now, much less a potential consensus choice. I exaggerate slightly, but right now, it doesn’t seem like many primary voters see many of the options as “pretty good.” The field is simply “their guy” versus a bunch of laughingstocks who deserve to be booed off the stage.

My theory is that in the On Demand Era, with movies and television shows available on demand, news sites updated 24-7, our iPods and MP3 players playing only the music we want, our Facebook pages giving us just the updates from the particular friends we want, etc., a certain segment of the public has now become conditioned to expect the On Demand candidate. They want someone who holds their position on Obamacare AND illegal immigration AND climate change AND TARP AND abortion AND every other significant issue, and when a potential Republican president deviates from it, they toss them into the “reject” pile.

Tags: Herman Cain , Michele Bachmann , Mitt Romney , Rick Perry , Tim Pawlenty

We Never Really Know a Public Figure


In the first Morning Jolt of November 2011 . . .

Well, Herman Cain’s Name ID Issues Are a Thing of the Past

Do you know Herman Cain?

I don’t. I doubt you do, either. Even if you know him personally, you cannot know, with absolute certainty, what happened when he interacted with the employee who lodged a sexual harassment charge against him when he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association. You may think you know. You may feel you’ve spent enough time around him to be absolutely certain that he wouldn’t be capable of boorish or hostile or abusive behavior. Certainly, the vast majority of the people who have worked with him over the years have found him charming, warm and a perfect gentleman.

Except that I’ll bet that staffers and supporters of Mark Sanford didn’t see his scandal coming, either.

Sadly, excellence or high achievement or even high character in one aspect of one’s life does not guarantee high character in other aspects of life. Duke Cunningham was the lone flying ace from the Vietnam era, and one of the earliest graduates of Top Gun school. Throughout the 1990s, there were fewer House conservatives more well-liked. And he pled guilty to tax evasion, conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Rudy Giuliani was a fantastic mayor and a sterling leader in a crisi. He sounds like he was, at least in the past, an extraordinarily difficult husband.

So while we may like Herman Cain, and we may find the claims a bit sketchy, we cannot know that he did nothing wrong here.

There are some fans of Herman Cain who will be very, very bothered by the above statement. They’ll insist the charges are a smear. They may very well be a smear. The Politico story relied on unnamed sources, and the descriptions of the charges are vague, and corporate America’s Danegeld philosophy towards expensive lawsuits ensures that we can determine very little from the fact that there was a cash settlement involved.

But we don’t know that nothing happened. Yesterday morning, Cane’s chief of staff Mark Black offered the absolute, no exceptions, blanket denial that there was any harassment involved — and then in the same breath pleaded complete ignorance about any settlement in a harassment claim. In short, they are absolutely familiar with the charge and can deem it baseless, except that they don’t know anything about how it was handled. Less than reassuring.

From Cain’s account, the trigger for the complaint is baffling to the point of being nonsensical:

Van Susteren asked what Cain did that led to the accusation. There were reportedly more than one accusations in the complaint, but Cain said he recalled just one incident. “She was in my office one day, and I made a gesture saying — and I was standing close to her — and I made a gesture saying you are the same height as my wife. And I brought my hand up to my chin saying, ‘My wife comes up to my chin.’” At that point, Cain gestured with his flattened palm near his chin. “And that was put in there [the complaint] as something that made her uncomfortable,” Cain said, “something that was in the sexual harassment charge.”

Van Susteren asked whether the woman complained at the time. “I can’t recall any comment that she made, positive or negative.”

Height comparisons? Is this some subtle form of flirtation? “You know, my wife comes up to here on me . . . if you know what I mean.” “You know what they say about tall men . . . they bump their heads a lot.”

Considering how the mainstream media ignored much more plausible reports about John Edwards for the duration of his 2008 campaign, the double standard is even more spectacularly egregious than usual. Glenn Reynolds asked: “Would Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman, Anna Palmer and Kenneth Vogel have put their names on a similar piece, with no named sources, aimed at Barack Obama? Would Politico have run it?”

Tags: Herman Cain , John Edwards


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