A Herman Cain aide said Thursday that the Cain campaign is considering its legal options over the original Politico story, which revealed that the former head of the National Restaurant Association was accused of sexually harassing at least two women during his tenure in the 1990s.
“This is likely not over with Politico from a legal perspective,” a campaign official told the Post, stopping short of explaining what exactly he meant by taking legal action against the publication.
Politico’s Executive Editor, Jim VandeHei said in a statement:
“We have heard nothing from the Cain campaign. We stand confidently behind every story Politico reporters have written on the topic.”
The Cain campaign has had an attorney advising it since Saturday on crisis management, which hasn’t gone particularly well for Cain since the story broke Sunday night.
On Thursday night, Politico reported more details of the allegations against Cain, saying that the former NRA head made a “sexual overture to [one of the women] at one of the group’s events.”
Politico cited “multiple sources independently familiar with the matter” and said the woman in question was “livid” and reported the incident that night to an NRA board member. She left the trade group soon afterwards, the publication reported,
Meanwhile, Cain’s camp continued to hit back strongly at the allegations as it headed into the sixth day of the crisis, which threatens his upstart Republican presidential candidacy.
It also pointed, at least partly, to the Perry campaign as a source of the leak. While Cain’s chief of staff Mark Block suggested in a Fox interview Thursday that he no longer blames a Perry staffer for the leak, Cain insists that Anderson is still to blame.
On Sean Hannity’s radio show Thursday, Cain insisted that there was a connection between Perry adviser Curt Anderson and Politico. Anderson advised Cain during his 2004 U.S. Senate bid.
“When you look at the facts, and you look at the fact that Politico doesn’t have any documentation — they have never talked to the women who are anoynymous. I didn’t know that there were so many women named anonymous in America because they kept digging up others, okay,” he said.
“When Anderson Cooper asked someone from Politico point blank, were you tipped off by a rival campaign, the person from Politico wouldn’t answer. What does that suggest?” Cain continued. “All I’m saying is we are just looking at all the facts.”
“This Mr. Anderson is frequently quoted in Politico. He’s got a connection there, and he started working for the Perry campaign two weeks ago. These are simply the facts,” Cain said.
Asked whether the leak could have come from another campaign, perhaps from GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney as a Perry aide suggested, Cain said:
“The assertion that somebody made [that] it might be coming from somewhere else, let’s just say, there aren’tenough bread crumbs that we can lay down and connect, that leads us anywhere else at this particular time and we’re moving on.”
Cain’s statement completely contradicts the assertions of Block, who stated Thursday that he no longer believes the source of the leak was Anderson. Anderson flatly denied that he was connected to the story, and urged any reporter who he has talked with to release details of his conversations with them.
For his part, Rick Perry, in Iowa today, told CNN that there was no need for his campaign to apologize to the Cain campaign, as Block insisted earlier, before reversing course.
“Our campaign didn’t have anything to do with it,” Perry said.
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