Herman Cain has maintained a packed schedule over these past few days as he has battled allegations that he sexually harassed at least two women while he led the National Restaurant Association.
His strategy of rolling disclosures has found him parsing the definition of a settlement, claiming a faulty memory on key facts, then remembering more clearly, and finally wishing for a do-over, admitting that mistakes were made in initial interviews.
In short, the man who shot to the top of the GOP field because of his folksy, tell-it-like-it-is ways, has sounded, in these past days, very much like a creature of Washington. (His wife, Gloria Cain, will sit down for her first interview this week on Fox News, in another example of classic Washington staging.)
While some Republicans have wanted to liken Cain to Clarence Thomas, arguing that like Thomas, Cain is a victim of liberal and media bias against black conservatives, there is also another comparison being made.
Charles Krauthammer, dean of conservatives, put it this way on Fox News:
“When you make a distinction between settlement and agreement it sounds...Clintonian, it sounds like you’re explaining, well it depends what the word is, is,” Krauthammer said. “How does Herman Cain end up parsing words in such a Clintonian legalistic way?”
The conversation so far has been mired in legalese and process. Yet, with reports that a woman who reached a settlement (or agreement?) with the restaurant association wants to tell her side of the story, Cain could face a situation where he is forced to answer this basic question, put to him by Bret Baier on Fox News (Video after the jump):
“Will you call for the National Restaurant Association to waive the details of this agreement so the women involved can speak freely about the events as they arose,” Baier asked in a Wednesday night interview.
The anonymity of Cain’s accusers and the non-disclosure clause in the settlement, have provided something of a refuge for the White House hopeful, allowing him to be vague on details, while completely denying that anything untoward happened.
But now Cain will have a choice in whether he will push for a full airing of the claims, which would be more in keeping with his maverick, shoot-from-the-hip style, or whether he chooses to take a more legalistic, processy approach, which could fuel the Clinton comparisons.
A lawyer for one of the women says that he will likely call on the restaurant association to release his client from the agreement as early as Wednesday.
Will Cain do the same?
“I can’t answer that now... because there are legal implications, if the restaurant association waves that, I just found out about this today, there are legal implications associated with that I’m not totally familiar with yet,” he said in response to Baier’s question. “So I can’t give you a definitive answer on that until we consult with our legal attorneys, and also talk to some others.”
WHERE TO FIND THE CANDIDATES:
Rick Santorum barnstorms Iowa, starting off in Sigourney at The Copper Lantern Sigourney, Iowa at 8 a.m. Next, he travels to Williamsburg for a meet-and-greet at 10 a.m. and then at noon he goes to Fairfield Arts & Convention Center; at 2 p.m., he will be at Village Cup and Cakes in Keosauqua; at 4:30 p.m. at Ottumwa City Library, and he rounds out his day at Decker House in Maquoketa.
Herman Cain begins his day at 8 a.m. in McLean where he will speak to the Northern Virginia Technology Council, he then heads to a health care-related press conference at 10:30 in Alexandria. At 1 p.m., he heads to the Hill to speak at the Congressional Health Caucus’ Thought Leaders Series, and at 2:30 he will be at the Capitol Hill Club for a meet-and-greet.
Newt Gingrich will be in Georgia at the Republican Party’s Seventh District Committee presidential forum in Duluth at 6 p.m.
Michele Bachmann hosts a tele-town hall meeting in Des Moines at 3 p.m.
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WORTH WATCHING: Herman Cain faces a grilling on Fox News