The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Monday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

 On recently reported sexual harassment claims against Herman Cain:

It starts out with the fact that we know only two things for sure. There were accusations and complaints. That’s number one. And second, there was a settlement.

Now, the settlement looks bad. But it is no way an admission of either guilt or of conclusive evidence that something happened. We know that every day corporations are making settlements not just for sexual harassment [but also] for negligence, for malpractice, for SEC violations, for all kinds of things simply because they make a calculation that it’s infinitely less expensive in terms of energy, reputation, and money for a company to make something go away.

The problem that Cain has is that he’s winging it. He’s a very smart guy and he’s trying to handle everything as he remembers stuff. The problem is this happened a long time ago, and we saw him contradict himself on whether he knew about the settlement. He said at the beginning ‘no,’ and then on the Greta show he talks about details of it.

What he needs to do — it’s not as if he’s lying. It’s that people don’t — I can’t remember what I had at lunch yesterday, let alone what happened 15 years ago. He needs to retire with his staff to make sure he knows the facts, call people who might remember it, and get the story in his own head straight. …

Unless Cain collects himself, thinks it through and remembers it, makes notes and talks about it with people who remember, he is going to have trouble with what will be called the cover-up. There isn’t a cover-up yet. But it’s inconsistent. That is what kills you in the end, even if you are innocent at the beginning.

On the state of the GOP primary race:

Everybody is looking for the non-Romney. It could be that Newt is making — he’s got a mild rise … It’s explainable in two ways. Number one: the inordinate importance of debates in this cycle, huge amount of viewership, a very important influence on public opinion — it explains the rise of Cain. There’s no other explanation.

He [Gingrich] performed well. Gingrich is a great debater.

And second, the tactic he’s used. It’s an axiom in these kinds of elections that if one candidate attacks another, generally both are hurt. Pawlenty and Bachmann attacked each other in Iowa. He got knocked out; she got knocked down. Perry attacked Romney; it didn’t help him — his numbers went down, stayed down. And then you got Santorum, who’s basically in the debates attacked everybody, and his numbers are low.

What did Gingrich do? He attacked the press, always helpful if you’re a candidate, always popular. And then he would also step out of the frame of the debate and say: You know, I like everybody up here. Everybody here is a better president than Barack Obama.

And sort of cheering for the whole Republican Party. I think it’s a very good tactic. He’s the only one who stayed out of the back and the forth. And as a result, if he gets a chance, if he … starts to climb in a party that is looking for the non-Romney, he might have a chance at being the non-Romney.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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