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

at 05:47 PM ET, 11/08/2011

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.

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* At a press conference this afternoon, Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain continued to wholeheartedly deny the sexual harassment allegations against him. He said he “didn’t even recognize the name” Sharon Bialek and had never seen her before. “There will probably be others, not because I am aware of any,” he said, but because “the machine to keep a businessman out of White House is relentless.” He said he would “absolutely” take a lie detector test but added, “I’m not going to do that unless I have a good reason.” Meanwhile Karen Kraushaar, one of the women named in the original Poltiico report, is going public.

* Most presidential candidates initially avoided weighing in on the sexual harassment allegations against Cain. Now, they’re starting to comment. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said “these are serious allegations and they are going to have to be addressed seriously,“ and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told ABC News that “he has to explain the charges and do so in a way that’s convincing.” And former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum called the accusations “very troubling.”

* Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is stirring things up a bit in Nebraska, endorsing state Treasurer Don Stenberg over Attorney General Jon Bruning in the GOP Senate primary. Stenberg is well-known, but he has little money and three failed Senate bids under his belt. Bruning is the presumed frontrunner.

* Following criticism from both inside and outside the West Wing, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley has surrendered some of his management role to longtime Obama confidante Pete Rouse. The change has been in the works for weeks and is not a rebuke, officials said. Daley, who was brought on as a more business-friendly face, will work more as an ambassador for the administration.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* There are so many elections tonight, it’s hard to keep track. But not if you follow our liveblog, where we will post updates on the ballot measures in Ohio and Mississippi, the governors’ races in Kentucky and Mississippi, the state senate races in Virginia and Mississippi and even a special state Senate election in Iowa. (We’re also following the House primary in Oregon, but we won’t expect results until late tonight.) Fun times! Can’t wait? Vote in our prediction contest now.

* Missouri plastic bottle manufacturer Dave Spence tells the AP that he is planning a run for governor and is considering challenging Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder in the GOP primary, should Kinder decide to run. “People need to know that there are alternatives to Peter Kinder,” Spence said. Despite the lieutenant governor’s missteps and meager fundraising, no other Republican has spoken of a challenge to Gov. Jay Nixon (D).

* The Democratic National Committee is airing a veterans-focused ad on local television and cable sports networks in North Carolina, New Mexico and Ohio over the next several days. The spot features an Iraq war veteran highlighting tax credits to hire veterans in the American Jobs Act. The ad saying “pass the President's jobs plan for veterans.”

* No surprise: questions about sexual harassment allegations against Cain have been deemed kosher for tomorrow night’s CNBC debate. Such queries were off-limits at last weekend’s Lincoln-Douglass style debate between Cain and Gingrich.

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