The Fix: Herman Cain

Herman Cain joining Fox News

Ranking the Republican presidential candidates: The best and worst

Ranking the Republican presidential candidates: The best and worst

The Republican primary is now over. Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum’s decision to end his bid on Tuesday means that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will be the Republican standard-bearer against President Obama in the fall.

The end of the race means a time for reflection in Fixworld. (We are nothing if not introspective.) And, regular readers know the Fix loves looking back at the campaign that was and deciding who did it best and, more deliciously, who did it worst. (Some people call this back seat driving; we call it “analysis”!)

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What Herman Cain meant

What Herman Cain meant

In a campaign chock full of unbelievable storylines, none was more remarkable than the rise of Herman Cain.

Cain had little expectation that he might achieve such great heights in the 2012 Republican race when he began his bid as a little known businessman whose only past political experience was a non-competitive run for Senate in Georgia in 2004.

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Herman Cain had the “Worst Week in Washington”. Again.

After acknowledging that he was “reassessing” his presidential campaign in the wake of the allegations of an extramarital affair with an Atlanta woman, businessman Herman Cain doesn’t look much like a winner.


Republican presidential candidate, Herman Cain leaves the Manchester Union Leader newspaper after meeting with the editorial board, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Except of course if you are talking about the “Worst Week in Washington” award, which the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza ran away with again this week.

The full writeup will be in Sunday’s Outlook section — check it out! — but here’s a taste:

If your boss tells you he is “reassessing” your role in the company, it’s time to get your résumé polished up.
If your wife tells you she is “reassessing” your marriage, it’s time to start looking for your own apartment.
And so, when Herman Cain announced on a conference call this past week that he was “reassessing” his presidential campaign, the writing appeared to be on the wall.

Don’t forget to nominate your pick for our “Worst Year in Washington” competition. You can do that here or tweet to #worstyear.

Herman Cain prepares an escape hatch

Herman Cain prepares an escape hatch

Listen closely to businessman Herman Cain’s public comments — and there have been lots of them — over the past 24 hours, and you hear a candidate seemingly preparing a way out of the presidential race.

That escape hatch? A concern over the toll that the allegations regarding an extramarital affair and multiple episodes of sexual harassment — all of which are false, Cain insists — are taking on his family.

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Afternoon Fix: Gingrich says Cain has ‘right to try to recover’

Newt Gingrich says not to count Herman Cain out, a shakeup in the Perry campaign, and Jon Huntsman won’t rule out an independent bid.

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The Herman Cain collapse: Who benefits?

The Herman Cain collapse: Who benefits?

Businessman Herman Cain’s acknowledgment earlier Tuesday that he is “reassessing” his presidential bid in the wake of allegations from Atlanta woman Ginger White that he engaged in 13-year extramarital affair looks very much like the end of his aspirations for national office.

Even before the allegations from White surfaced Monday, Cain and his campaign had been waylaid by allegations of sexual harassment — charges that Cain denied but that effectively squashed any momentum he had built in the race. Polling conducted prior to these latest allegations confirmed that Cain’s wave had begun to recede long before today.

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Herman Cain reassessing presidential candidacy

Herman Cain reassessing presidential candidacy

Businessman Herman Cain told senior members of his campaign on a conference call this morning that he is reassessing whether or not to remain in the Republican presidential race.

On the conference call, which National Review listened to and transcribed, Cain denies the allegation of an affair with an Atlanta woman named Ginger White, which came to light on Monday, but acknowledged that the “firestorm” had caused a rethinking.

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Why Mitt Romney needs Herman Cain

Why Mitt Romney needs Herman Cain

The latest allegation swirling around businessman Herman Cain — that he conducted a 13-year long extramarital affair with a woman named Ginger White — could well amount to a political death blow for his already-reeling presidential campaign. And that’s bad news for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

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Ginger White accuses Herman Cain of a 13-year affair

Ginger White accuses Herman Cain of a 13-year affair

A Georgia woman says that she and Herman Cain engaged in a 13-year affair, but the GOP presidential candidate issued a preemptive denial on Monday.

In an interview with the local Fox affiliate in Atlanta, Ginger White said she met Cain in the 1990s and he invited her to meet him in Palm Springs. From there, she said, the affair took off and he flew her to places where he gave speeches and lavished her with gifts.

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CNN Republican debate: Winners and losers

Another day, another Republican presidential debate. We live-blogged the whole thing but also took note of a few of the night’s winners and, yes, losers.

Our thoughts are below. Have your own winners and losers? The comments section awaits.

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CNN national security debate: What to watch for

Eight Republican candidates will gather for the billionth — oops, sorry, twelfth— time tonight in Washington, D.C. for a debate focused on national security.

The festivities get started at 8 p.m. on CNN — we will ramp up the Fix live-blog around 7:30 p.m. — but in the meantime we thought we’d offer a few things to keep an eye on in tonight’s debate.

As always, your thoughts are welcome in the comments section.

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Herman Cain often tries to have it both ways on campaign trail

Herman Cain often tries to have it both ways on campaign trail

Herman Cain’s old employer, Burger King, encourages its customers to “Have it your way.”

On the presidential campaign trail, though, Cain’s slogan could easily be: “Having it both ways.”

While Cain has often been criticized by the media for changing his story, his problem often is that he simply won’t stick with one story or the other and tries to take both positions.

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Cain campaign: Live by the media, die by the media

Cain campaign: Live by the media, die by the media

For a while, it seemed like businessman Herman Cain had figured out how to succeed in early primary and caucus states without really trying.

Since the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO catapulted to the front of the Republican presidential field on the strength of his performance in the Sept. 23 Florida debate (and a surprising win a a Florida straw poll), Cain has spent just 12 days — either partially or completely — in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida combined. Yes, combined.

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Ron Paul is for real in Iowa. Seriously.

Ron Paul is for real in Iowa. Seriously.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, long dismissed by the GOP establishment as a fringe candidate, has broadened his electoral appeal and emerged as a major player in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, according to several recent polls and conversations with a handful of longtime Hawkeye political operatives.

“He has certainly broadened his coalition from the ‘rage against the machine’ types that primarily comprised his supporters in 2008,” said one senior Iowa Republican operative granted anonymity to speak candidly about Paul’s prospects. “The expanded coalition includes more traditional activists — as a number of GOP county chairs have endorsed his campaign, as have a handful of legislators.”

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Herman Cain’s unconventional approach (and why it’s not working)

Herman Cain’s unconventional approach (and why it’s not working)

Businessman Herman Cain takes pride in the fact that he is running an unconventional campaign for president.

“I’m an unconventional candidate, as you know, and we’re running an unconventional campaign,” he said recently on Fox News Channel. Cain also touted his “unconventional campaign” and “unconventional message that is resonating around the country” in an interview with Michael Barone. (There are LOTS more examples but you get the idea.)

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Rick Perry’s comeback strategy: Attack Obama

Rick Perry’s comeback strategy: Attack Obama

Looking to claw back to relevance in the Republican presidential race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry appears to have settled on a simple strategy: attack President Obama.

His latest ad, which began airing today in Iowa and on national cable stations, takes Obama to task for a recent comment that America has grown “a little bit lazy” in selling the country overseas over the past few decades.

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Cain: I was just joking about Kissinger

Cain: I was just joking about Kissinger

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain says he was kidding when he said he had asked Henry Kissinger to serve as his secretary of state in a hypothetical Cain administration.

“Dr. Kissinger turned my offer down to be secretary of state,” Cain told the Milwaulkee-Journal Sentinel’s editorial board in a video clip published Monday. “He said he’s perfectly happy doing what he’s doing.”

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Herman Cain stumbles badly on Libya question

In an interview today with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain visibly struggled to explain his position on President Obama’s Libya policy.

The video is particularly damaging for Cain, who has struggled on matters of foreign policy in the past.

Asked if he agreed with the president, Cain said, “Okay, Libya,” and then was silent for about ten — yes, ten — seconds, before asking, “President Obama supported the uprising, correct?”

Cain then said he did not agree with Obama’s handling of the uprising, before adding: “No, that’s a different one. I’ve got to go back, got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me did I agree or not agree with Obama.”

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Herman Cain collapsing in new CNN poll

Herman Cain collapsing in new CNN poll

For weeks, polls have shown former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain holding strong despite the revelation of sexual harassment allegations against him. Now, his support is starting to collapse.

A new CNN poll finds Cain dropping 11 points among Republicans, from 25 percent in October to 14 percent on Monday. That puts him in a statistical tie for third place in the GOP nominating contest with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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Newt Gingrich reclaims frontrunner status as Cain stumbles

Newt Gingrich reclaims frontrunner status as Cain stumbles

OK, you can call it a comeback.

Two new polls show former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) climbing back into the ranks of the frontrunners in the GOP presidential race, just a few months after he was left for dead by his staff, his supporters and the media.

Gingrich’s gains appear to have come at the expense of businessman Herman Cain , whose continuing battle with sexual harassment allegations is starting to drag down his poll numbers.

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Afternoon Fix: Cain walks back ‘Princess Nancy’ apology

Herman Cain regrets his regrets, Virginia goes to the GOP, Richard Carmona is running for Senate and Elizabeth Warren has a campaign manager.

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Cain campaign says it has raised $9 million in six weeks

Cain campaign says it has raised $9 million in six weeks

Herman Cain’s campaign says it has raised $9 million in the last six weeks, setting him on a very strong fundraising pace that has yet to be matched in the GOP presidential race.

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CNBC presidential debate: What we learned

CNBC presidential debate: What we learned

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s near-minute long unsuccessful attempt to remember the three federal agencies he would eliminate if he became president dominated the post-game analysis of Wednesday night’s presidential debate in Michigan.

And, while the Perry gaffe likely ensures he will have never have the chance to eliminate any federal departments there were a few other take-aways from the debate that are worth noting.

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Herman Cain calls Pelosi ‘Princess Nancy,’ regrets it

Herman Cain calls Pelosi ‘Princess Nancy,’ regrets it

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s inability to remember his own plan is obviously the gaffe of Wednesday’s Republican debate. But former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain stumbled too, calling former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “Princess Nancy.”

In response to a question on health-care policy, Cain told the crowd that there was a Republican plan to fix the system, but “Princess Nancy sent it to committee and it stayed there.”

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GOP presidential debate: What to watch for

GOP presidential debate: What to watch for

Eight Republican presidential candidates will gather tonight at 8 p.m. at Oakland University in Michigan for their tenth debate of the primary season.

We’ll be live-blogging the proceedings — natch! — but thought we’d provide a viewer’s guide to keep you occupied in the hours before things get started in earnest.

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Herman Cain’s organization problem

Herman Cain’s organization problem

Businessman Herman Cain’s performance at his much-anticipated news conference on Tuesday was the best that his supporters could hope for.

He issued a blanket denial of any harassment (“I can categorically say I have never acted inappropriately with anyone. Period”), insisted that the allegations brought by Sharon Bialek were totally false (“I don’t even know who this lady is”) and made clear that he won’t be dropping out of the presidential race ( “Ain’t gonna happen”).

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Afternoon Fix: Cain says he would take a lie detector test, but not right now

Herman Cain is denying everything, presidential candidates are starting to weigh in, Jim DeMint is playing in Nebraska and there are so many elections tonight.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m.

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Herman Cain presser: Pivot point or tipping point?

Herman Cain presser: Pivot point or tipping point?

Businessman Herman Cain’s planned news conference to address allegations of inappropriate conduct toward a former employee of the National Restaurant Association could well be his last, best chance to wrench an increasingly negative narrative back onto a better course.

Cain’s decision to call the news conference, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. today in Arizona, represents a major shift in strategy for the 2012 presidential candidate who had gone silent in recent days when asked by reporters about the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around him.

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Five big questions on Election Day

Five big questions on Election Day

Believe it or not, it’s Election Day.

No, today’s elections aren’t a huge deal nationwide; in fact, this is the lesser of the two off-year elections that occur during every presidential term. Only four states are holding regular state legislative elections, and only two states are holding governor’s races — both of them snoozers.

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New Herman Cain SuperPAC ad: ‘A high-tech lynching’

New Herman Cain SuperPAC ad: ‘A high-tech lynching’

A slick, dramatic new web ad in support of Herman Cain hammers on the comparison between the allegations against him and the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

The spot, from the super PAC Americans for Herman Cain, uses footage of Thomas at his confirmation hearing responding to sexual harassment allegations: “It is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves. It is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order you will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured rather than hung from a tree.”

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Why Herman Cain is lucky he’s Herman Cain

Say what you want about how Herman Cain and his campaign have handled the response to the growing controversy consuming his campaign.

It hasn’t hurt him in the Republican primary. Not yet, at least.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that seven in 10 Republicans say the controversy has no effect on whether they would vote for him, and he remains in a statistical tie atop the GOP field with Mitt Romney.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain arrives to speak on Capitol Hill in Washington this week. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

And a lot of is because, on paper, Cain is about the perfect vessel for surviving just such a pickle.

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Top Iowa supporter for Herman Cain blames Mark Block for fumbled response

A top Iowa supporter of Herman Cain’s presidential campaign is blaming top Cain aide Mark Block for the campaign’s poor response to allegations that Cain sexually harassed at least two women in the 1990s.

Jeff Jorgenson, the chairman of the Pottawatamie County Republican Party, said Cain’s campaign has been caught off-guard and that Cain should consider changes, starting at the top.

“I’m not very happy with the response to these allegations from the campaign itself,” Jorgenson said. “I think Herman Cain needs to take maybe another look at his association with his chief of staff.”

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Herman Cain was never fond of Rick Perry

When Herman Cain accused Texas Gov. Rick Perry of leaking damaging information about his rival last night, there was little love lost.

Sources say there is no personal animosity between the two candidates. But Cain, in deflecting attention away from himself in this controversy, seized on a familiar target.

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Cain and supporters attach themselves to Clarence Thomas, to their benefit

The parallels with Clarence Thomas were probably unavoidable for Herman Cain, but as the scandal regarding sexual harassment claims heads into its fifth day, they’re starting to crop up more frequently — including, now, at Cain’s own behest.

Cain’s campaign has brought Thomas into the conversation by sitting down with the U.S. Supreme Court justice’s wife, Ginni , who happens to be a conservative activist and contributor for the Daily Caller. Meanwhile, a super PAC supporting Cain is now calling the controversy a “high-tech lynching” — the same words Clarence Thomas used in 1991.

“That’s exactly what they’re doing to Herman Cain today,” Americans for Herman Cain campaign director Jordan Gehrke says in a fundraising e-mail released Thursday morning and sent using the American Conservative Union’s e-mail list.

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Cain blames Perry for sexual harassment story

Cain blames Perry for sexual harassment story

As more sexual harassment allegations against former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain come to light, the presidential candidate is accusing Texas Gov. Rick Perry of leaking the story to the press.

In an interview with Forbes magazine, Cain said he had told consultant Curt Anderson about the allegations when he ran for Senate in 2004. Anderson began working for Perry two weeks ago, about when Politico first asked Cain whether he was accused of sexual harassment while leading the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

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Herman Cain becomes target of desperate 2012 GOP candidates

Herman Cain becomes target of desperate 2012 GOP candidates

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) last night joined Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) in questioning former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain over recently-uncovered sexual harassment allegations from Cain’s time at the National Restaurant Association.

“This is the year when we can't have any surprises with our candidate,” Bachmann told a crowd of Iowa supporters. She echoed Santorum strategist John Brabender, who said Tuesday morning that Cain needed to “be forthcoming so that you are vetted.”

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Confidentiality agreements: How do they work?

Confidentiality agreements: How do they work?

One of the women who accused former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain of sexual harassment in the 1990s has considered going public with her story. Her lawyer asked the National Restaurant Association to waive a confidentiality agreement that she signed as part of a settlement so the woman can speak freely.

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Herman Cain harassment charges: The unanswered questions

The burgeoning controversy surrounding sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain has taken on new life. So where do we go from here?
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, center, is surrounded by security and staff as he walks through a hotel lobby in Alexandria, Va., earlier today. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

As revelations continue to trickle out — the most recent ones being that one of the women involved may want the National Restaurant Association to waive a confidentiality clause so she can speak out, and the New York Times report that one of the women was paid a year’s salary as a settlement — there remain several major questions to be answered in the hours and days ahead.

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All politics is national? In 2012, yes.

All politics is national? In 2012, yes.

It’s accepted wisdom in presidential politics that national polling on a primary race is largely meaningless since the nominees of both parties are typically picked in the crucible of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

But, in the 2012 Republican presidential primary, it appears as though the national dynamic is overriding in-state realities and, in many ways, dictating the terms of the races in these early states.

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Why Herman Cain needs to stop talking — immediately

Why Herman Cain needs to stop talking — immediately

On Monday, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain declared “enough said” about the swirl of questions surrounding allegations of sexual harassment leveled at him during his time as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

He then appeared on PBS’s “Newshour” and Greta van Susteren’s program on Fox News Channel that night. Then on Tuesday he gave an on-air interview with CNN’s Headline News and appeared not once but twice (!) on Fox News on Tuesday evening.

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Can Herman Cain bounce back?

Businessman Herman Cain continues — somewhat unsuccessfully — to beat back allegations that he sexually harassed two women during the 1990s, accusations that threaten to badly hamstring his presidential bid.

In today’s Fix Face-Off video chat, we broke down how (and whether) Cain can come back. If you missed it live, check it out below!

Rick Perry: It’s now or never

Rick Perry: It’s now or never

Texas Gov. Rick Perry stands at a now-or-never moment for his presidential campaign, teetering between second-tier status and emerging as the prime alternative to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the nomination fight.

There’s little question that circumstances have provided Perry with an opening that is almost too good to be true. Just as his inexplicable flirtation with birtherism raised further questions about his readiness for primetime — and earned him our “Worst Week in Washington” award — a path to a Perry comeback has presented itself.

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Santorum strategist urges Cain to come clean on harassment allegations

Santorum strategist urges Cain to come clean on harassment allegations

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign is calling on Herman Cain to offer a more detailed explanation of the sexual harassment allegations made against him during his time as the head of the National Restaurant Association.

“What I would encourage the Cain campaign to do is, if you are the frontrunner and you plan to be the nominee, to be forthcoming so that you are vetted, and we don’t get into a situation where you’re our nominee and we find out things after the fact,” said Santorum strategist John Brabender, speaking at an election preview forum hosted by National Journal.

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Herman Cain and political death by 1,000 cuts

Herman Cain and political death by 1,000 cuts

When Politico first reported late Sunday night that businessman Herman Cain had faced accusations of sexual harassment in the 1990s, the frontrunning presidential candidate had a choice: admit his error or fight like hell against the story.

He, not surprisingly, chose the latter option — casting the report as a “witch hunt” organized by the very establishment he has rocked to its core with his rapid rise in polling over the last six weeks.

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Herman Cain loses control of his message, again

Herman Cain’s burgeoning scandal isn’t going away any time soon, after the candidate stepped on his own message late Monday.

While Cain showed some ability to control his message during the course of day, by the end, he was in full backpedal mode. After previously saying he didn’t know about any settlements reached with women who had accused him of sexual harassment, Cain detailed a settlement in an interview with Fox’s Greta van Susteren taped for tonight. And in an interview with PBS, Cain said he couldn’t recall whether he had invited one of the women up to his hotel room.

It was a whirlwind day that suggests the amateur political candidate still has his work cut out for him as he deals with a growing scandal.

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Who gains if Cain loses?

Herman Cain has hit yet another roadblock in his presidential campaign, and this one may be the biggest of all.

We don’t know whether allegations of inappropriate behavior with two women during his time as head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s will bring the new GOP frontrunner down. But given the seriousness of the allegations — and the lack of a firm denial from Cain’s campaign that the women were given out-of-court settlements — it’s worth a look at who would benefit from the Cain wave rolling back.

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Herman Cain already unpopular with female voters

Herman Cain already unpopular with female voters

Even before allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain surfaced, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO polled poorly with female voters. The numbers suggest that compared with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney , Cain is in big trouble with this demographic.

In four early primary states, according to recent CNN polls,Romney significantly outperformed Cain with female Republicans in every contest save South Carolina. In Iowa, where the two contenders are statistically tied, Romney took 28 percent of female voters and Cain got 17.

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The Herman Cain harassment story: How bad is it for him?

The Herman Cain harassment story: How bad is it for him?

Allegations that businessman Herman Cain was accused of inappropriate behavior toward co-workers on two occasions in the 1990s threaten to derail a presidential campaign that had propelled the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza from afterthought to frontrunner.

The allegations, which were first reported by Politico, involve Cain’s time as head of the National Restaurant Association. In both instances, the women accused the now-presidential candidate of behaving toward them in a sexually suggestive way, according to Politico.

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Cain, Romney top new Des Moines Register poll

The latest Des Moines Register Iowa poll reconfirms that the Iowa caucuses are, right now, a race between former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Cain and Romney are basically tied in Iowa at 23 percent and 22 percent, respectively — even though neither candidate has spent much time in the state. The poll of 400 likely caucusgoers has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

The only other candidate in the double-digits is Texas Rep. Ron Paul, with 12 percent. Next is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) at 8 percent; Texas Gov. Rick Perry is tied with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 7 percent.

A recent CNN poll found very similar results.

The last Iowa poll was in June; at the time, Romney and Bachmann lead the Republican pack.

Of course, Romney lead in the October 2007 Iowa poll too; he ended up losing to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in the state.

The contenders and the pretenders of the Republican race

The contenders and the pretenders of the Republican race

And then there were eight.

As in eight candidates on this month’s Friday presidential Line — the first time this election cycle that we aren’t including ten Republicans in our rankings of who might wind up as the GOP nominee.

Why? Because with the no-go decisions by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin , there simply aren’t ten people left in the Republican field who can make even a semi-reasonable case that they could wind up as the party’s standard-bearer against President Obama next November.

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Mitt Romney: Unstoppable in New Hampshire?

Mitt Romney: Unstoppable in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire is at the center of the 2012 Republican presidential race today, as Texas Gov. Rick Perry travels to the state to formally file as a candidate for the first-in-the-nation primary and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul also make campaign stops in the state.

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Rick Perry skipping debates? Bad idea jeans.

Rick Perry skipping debates? Bad idea jeans.

After a series of mediocre debate performances over the past six week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry seems to be signaling that he may not take part in future candidate gatherings.

Perry has committed to the next debate in Michigan on November 9 but, according to campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan, the governor’s participation in future debates is very much up in the air.

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2012 Fix Face-off!

Got 2012 questions? We have answers.

It’s the 2012 Fix Face-off. Submit your own question — or use one of our pre-written ones — using the form below.

Then tune in at noon on Monday to see if we answer it!

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Afternoon Fix: Cain tries to explain abortion position yet again

Herman Cain keeps digging, Eric Cantor canceled his income inequality speech, Bachmann says her New Hampshire staff didn’t quit, and Romney is hitting Obama hard on Iraq.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m.!

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Herman Cain’s problematic position(s) on abortion

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain’s campaign has some explaining to do after the candidate appeared to take an essentially pro-abortion rights position last night in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan.


Former CEO of Godfather's Pizza and Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain speaks during the Western Republican Leadership Conference at The Venetian hotel-casino in Las Vegas October 19, 2011. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

“The government shouldn’t be trying to tell people everything to do, especially when it comes to a social decision that they need to make,” Cain said.

Just last week, though, Cain appeared to take the opposite position on abortion, telling Fox Business Network’s John Stossel that “abortion should not be legal” — although even in that interview, he confused the hosts about just what his position was. Also, in 2003, he said he supported a Constitutional amendment outlawing abortion.

The confusing set of statements from the new GOP frontrunner represents just the latest instance in which Cain appears to be trying to take positions on both sides of an issue. And it’s opening him up to charges of being a flip-flopper.

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Is the flat tax Rick Perry’s political silver bullet?

Is the flat tax Rick Perry’s political silver bullet?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s planned embrace of a flat tax proposal to address the nation’s ongoing economic woes amounts to a major political gamble on which the fate of his presidential bid could rest.

While Perry won’t offer specifics on the plan until next week, a survey of senior Republican party operatives suggests that the Texas governor might well have stumbled onto a bit of political gold.

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Republican debate: What we learned in Las Vegas

In an attempt to stave off debate withdrawal — there won’t be another one until, gasp, November 9 — we spent the morning sifting through last night’s rock ‘em, sock ‘em affair in Las Vegas in search of lessons learned.


(RICHARD BRIAN - REUTERS)

Our thoughts are below. Have some of your own? Offer them in the comments section.

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Herman Cain could be haunted by hostage question from Las Vegas Republican debate

Herman Cain could be haunted by hostage question from Las Vegas Republican debate

Foreign policy has never been Herman Cains strong suit. But his response in the Las Vegas debate on the possibility of exchanging a soldier for Guantanamo Bay prisoners can’t be good for the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO.

Not only did Cain contradict himself, he was forced to admit that he made a mistake and did not understand a question.

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Las Vegas Republican debate: Winners and losers

The eighth Republican presidential debate — and fifth in the last six weeks! — is over.


LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 18: (L-R) Former CEO of Godfather's Pizza Herman Cain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry participate in the Republican presidential debate airing on CNN, October 18, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
We liveblogged the whole thing but also made time to scribble down a few of the best — and the worst — moments of the night.

Our take is below. Have thoughts of your own on the debate? The comments section awaits.

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Las Vegas Republican debate: The Live Blog

Tonight at 8 p.m. eastern time seven Republican candidates running for president will take the stage in Las Vegas for the fifth debate in the last six weeks.

And what would a Republican debate be without a Fix live blog? (Answer: It would be, somehow, empty. Like “Two and a Half Men” without Charlie Sheen. Or Van Halen without David Lee Roth.)

Starting around 7:30 p.m. — we like to warm up to avoid injury — the Fix posse will be detailing every quote and note from the debate. If you’ve never participated in a Fix live blog before, there’s no time like the present. It’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and the “McLaughlin Group” rolled into one. Sort of.

Come. Comment. Hang out. It’s the only way to watch a debate!

Las Vegas Republican debate: What to watch for

Las Vegas Republican debate: What to watch for

For the fifth time in the last six weeks and the eighth time in 2011 — neither of those are typos — the Republican presidential field will gather on a debate stage with Las Vegas providing the backdrop to tonight’s tete a tete.

Unlike the last several debates there will be seven not eight men and women on stage as former Utah governor Jon Huntsman is boycotting the debate in solidarity with the New Hampshire Republican party, which is upset with the Silver State for scheduling their presidential caucus on Jan. 14, 2012. (Follow all of that?)

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2012 Fix Face-off: The Las Vegas Republican debate edition!

Earlier today we fielded questions on tonight’s Republican debate — the eighth in a series! — in Las Vegas.

Missed it? Never fear. It’s archived forever on the Internet(s) and available in all of its uninterrupted glory below.

And don’t forget: we’ll be liveblogging every minute of the CNN-sponsored debate starting at 8 p.m. eastern time right here on the Fix. Tune in!

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Herman Cain’s sleepy Senate campaign

Herman Cain’s sleepy Senate campaign

Georgia Republicans are dumbstruck.

How did a candidate who amounted to an also-ran in the 2004 open seat Senate race transform himself into a top-tier presidential candidate in just 7 years?

Answers are few and far between. But, a look back at the only political race Cain had run prior to his 2012 presidential candidacy still provides some insight.

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2012 Fix Face-off!

With the eighth Republican presidential debate scheduled for tonight at 8 p.m. in Las Vegas, there’s plenty to talk about when it comes the 2012 race.


Republican presidential candidate former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, from left, speaks as Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Texas Gov. Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at a presidential debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Toni Sandys, Pool)
So, let’s talk together. You ask the questions, we (hopefully) provide the answers. We call it the Fix Face-off. Submit your question using the form below and then tune in at noon to see if we pick it. See you then!

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Herman Cain’s know-nothing foreign policy (and why it matters)

Herman Cain’s know-nothing foreign policy (and why it matters)

Herman Cain is no foreign policy maven.

Asked this past Sunday whether Iran’s involvement in an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. amounted to an act of war, Cain told “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory: “After I looked at all of the information provided by the intelligence community, the military, then I could make that decision.”

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Cain raised $2.8 million in third quarter

Herman Cain raised $2.8 million in the third quarter and has $1 million cash on hand, according to his campaign.

The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO announced the total during a campaign appearance in Tennessee Friday. He said the campaign had no debt.

The total comes in well shy of the other two front-runners in the GOP race, as former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney raised more than $14 million and Texas Gov. Rick Perry raised better than $17 million. Both men have about $15 million cash on hand.

Cain surged in the race at the end of the quarter, with his victory in the Florida straw poll coming with one week left in the quarter. In the weeks since, he has surged into a statistical tie with Romney atop the GOP presidential race.

Why Herman Cain can win

Why Herman Cain can win

Let’s start with this basic fact: Herman Cain isn’t the most likely person to be the Republican nominee for president in 2012. That’s Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.

But, a new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll released late Wednesday suggests that — at least for the moment — a path to victory does exist for the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.

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New Hampshire debate: Word cloud style

The Fix is an unapologetic lover of word clouds. And so we asked the graphic wizards at the Post to cook us up one after Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate at Dartmouth College. The result is below. (And make sure to check out our detailed transcript of the debate here.)

Not surprising: “Taxes” was the most mentioned word. Somewhat surprising: “9-9-9” wasn’t mentioned more.

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 economic plan gets lukewarm reviews from conservatives — and a Cain consultant

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 economic plan gets lukewarm reviews from conservatives — and a Cain consultant

Herman Cain’s opponents in the presidential campaign aren’t the only ones who aren’t on board with his 9-9-9 plan for the economy.

So do many major conservative groups and even — wait for it — one of Cain’s own consultants.

The plan, which would overhaul the tax code with a 9 percent sales tax, a 9 percent income tax, and a 9 percent corporate tax, was the most touched-upon subject at Tuesday night’s Washington Post-Bloomberg News debate.

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New Hampshire Republican debate: What we learned

New Hampshire Republican debate: What we learned

With a (decent) night’s sleep behind us, we spent the morning thinking about what last night’s Republican presidential debate — sponsored by the Washington Post and Bloomberg News in case you forgot — taught us about the GOP race.

Our thoughts are below. Have some of your own? Offer them in the comments section!

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Ron Paul calls out Herman Cain at Republican debate (Debate Video)

Ron Paul calls out Herman Cain at Republican debate (Debate Video)

When the candidates were invited to ask each other questions in Tuesday night’s debate, most focused their fire on the front-runner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. But Texas Rep. Ron Paul targeted Herman Cain — and caught the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO being disingenous at best.

“Mr. Cain, in the past you have been rather critical of any of us who would want to audit the Fed. You have said ... that we were ignorant and that we didn’t know what we are doing, and ... you’re not going to find out anything, because everybody knows everything about the Fed,” Paul said.

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Republican debate: Winners and Losers

Republican debate: Winners and Losers

The Washington Post-Bloomberg News presidential debate at Dartmouth College is in the books. (That’s seven presidential debate for those of you counting.)

We live-blogged every minute of it but also came out with a quick take on who won and who lost. Our thoughts are below. Offer your own in the comments section.

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Afternoon Fix: Herman Cain will attack Romney tonight

Linda Lingle says her campaign isn’t about Obama, Herman Cain says he’s got a plan for tonight, Daley is leaving the White House, and we’re having a debate!

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m.!

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Herman Cain’s moment

Herman Cain’s moment

In each of the first six debates of the Republican presidential race, Herman Cain has been an afterthought — on the receiving end of few questions from the moderators and virtually ignored by his better-known and -financed rivals.

That ends tonight, when Cain — along with seven other men and women running for president — take the stage in Hanover, N.H., for a debate sponsored by the Washington Post and Bloomberg News.

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Afternoon Fix: Gallup shows Cain nearly tying Romney

New polls show Herman Cain rising, Joe the Plumber is running for Congress, Mel Martinez is endorsing Romney, and Newt Gingrich wants Gary Johnson in the debate.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m.!

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Herman Cain and the ‘race card’

Herman Cain and the ‘race card’

Back in July, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain told Fox News that the “race card is now a joke, because a lot of American people have figured it out.” It’s a sentiment he’s repeated frequently, arguing that Democrats cry racism to paper over President Obama’s faults.

Yet Cain frequently invokes race on the campaign trail, far more often than Obama did during his first campaign for the White House.

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Who has the most to lose in the economic debate (and why)?

The Washington Post and Bloomberg News are sponsoring an economic-focused debate among the 2012 Republican presidential candidates at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire on Tuesday.


presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, listens as Texas Gov. Rick Perry makes a statement during a debate Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, Pool)
The economy is the dominant issue of both the Republican primary fight and next year's general election so each of the candidates have a considerable amount riding on their debate performance.

Our question for you: Which of the Republican presidential candidates has the most at stake at the debate?

Is it former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney who has staked his campaign on the economic know-how he learned in the private sector? Or Texas Gov. Rick Perry whose job creation successes in the Lonestar State have formed the foundation of his nascent campaign? What about businessman Herman Cain who is the fastest rising star in the GOP field? Or is is someone else?

Offer your thought via Quora or in the comments section below. We’ll incorporate them into our debate preview in advance of Tuesday’s debate.

Afternoon Fix: Cain says ‘If you’re not rich, blame yourself’

Herman Cain is not going to occupy Wall Street, a former McCain aide based a mentally ill character in her book on Sarah Palin, Gabrielle Giffords is headed back to Washington and Hoekstra raised a million.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m.!

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Herman Cain can help Mitt Romney win the GOP nod. Really.

Herman Cain can help Mitt Romney win the GOP nod. Really.

If Mitt Romney is the Republican presidential nominee a year from now, it will be in part thanks to one of his primary rivals — Herman Cain.

In the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO is tied for second place with Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 16 percent — a 13-point drop for Perry and a 12-point rise for Cain since early September. Romney is once again in the lead with 25 percent of respondents’ support.

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Chris Christie won’t run for president: Now what?

Chris Christie won’t run for president: Now what?

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie‘s decision not to run for president almost certainly means that the 2012 Republican presidential field is set, news that some donors and party activists may greet grimly.

“Dream dating is over,” said Republican consultant Mark McKinnon. “It’s time to love the one you’re with.”

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Rick Perry’s silence on the hunting camp story (and whether it will work)

Rick Perry’s silence on the hunting camp story (and whether it will work)

In the immediate aftermath of the Washington Post story about a racial epithet marking a hunting camp owned by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s family, his presidential campaign put out a statement insisting that “a number of claims made in the story are incorrect, inconsistent, and anonymous.

And, when businessman Herman Cain denounced Perry as “plain insensitive” during appearances on the Sunday chat shows, the governor’s campaign quickly responded — arguing that “Mr. Cain is wrong about the Perry family’s quick action to eliminate the word on the rock, but is right the word written by others long ago is insensitive and offensive.”

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Herman Cain: How high can he rise?

Herman Cain: How high can he rise?

Businessman Herman Cain is surging in the GOP presidential race, rising as high as 17 percent in the most recent Fox News Channel/Opinion Dynamics national poll.

That’s nearly triple the support that Cain won in the last Fox poll and puts him in a statistical tie with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who dropped into second place (19 percent) behind Mitt Romney (23 percent)

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Sarah Palin, second-tier candidate

Sarah Palin, second-tier candidate

Amid the “will she or won’t she” speculation about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s 2012 presidential plans, one important thing seems to be getting lost: Palin is simply not a top-tier candidate.

New numbers from a CNN/Opinion Research poll confirm it. In a hypothetical 2012 Republican primary, Palin stood at 7 percent — tied with businessman Herman Cain and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, neither of whom are considered anything but the longshots for the nomination.

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Herman Cain explained

Herman Cain is on a roll. Off a solid performance in Thursday night’s debate, the former Godfathers’ Pizza CEO won a straw poll in Florida — one that has predicted the Republican presidential nominee every time it’s been held. It’s still very unlikely that Cain will continue that streak. But he’s not thinking of dropping out anymore. So who is Herman Cain, and how did he get here?


Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain talks to reporters as dozens of Tea Party supporters rally near the U.S. Capitol against raising the debt limit in Washington, July 27, 2011. (JONATHAN ERNST - REUTERS)

Cain, 65, grew up in Georgia and graduated from Morehouse College; he has a master’s in computer science from Purdue University. His business career started at the Coca-Cola Company. From there, he went to Philadelphia and managed to turn the city’s Burger Kings profitable.

That success led him to his best known post: stabilizing the Nebraska-based Godfather’s Pizza franchise, which he took over in 1986 after managing to turn around Burger King in Philadelphia. At Godfather’s, Cain cut some troubled franchises, launched some inventive advertising campaigns and got rid of unpopular menu items.

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The end of straw polls?

There have been four straw polls since Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll on Aug. 13, each won by a different Republican candidate.


(Businessmann Herman Cain won the P5 straw poll in Florida this weekend.)
Businessman Herman Cain claimed the biggest victory, winning the P5 straw poll in Florida on Saturday. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won at Mackinac Island in Michigan on Sunday. And Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum won straw votes in California and Pennsylvania respectively.

Of that group, only one — Romney — is given a serious chance of winning the 2012 presidential nomination, a fact which raises a critical question: Do straw polls matter?

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Herman Cain wins Florida straw poll

Herman Cain wins Florida straw poll

Former Godfather’s Pizza executive Herman Cain has won the Presidency 5 Straw Poll, scoring a runaway victory in the Florida survey of GOP activists.

Cain took more than 37 percent of the vote in the eight-candidate field, finishing far ahead of second-place Rick Perry (15 percent) and third-place Mitt Romney (14 percent).

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GOP Debate: What we learned

GOP Debate: What we learned

The only thing more fun than live-blogging a presidential debate is sifting through the aftermath and figuring out what it all means.

With a (short) night’s sleep to think on the fifth Republican presidential debate, we came up with a few lessons learned from the night that was.

Agree or disagree? Sound off in the comments section.

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