The Washington Post

EXCLUSIVE: Perry camp admits no evidence to accuse Romney of leaking Cain story

Updated 7:05 p.m.

I asked Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s communications director Ray Sullivan what facts he had on which to base his allegation that the Romney camp was the source of the Politico stories about Herman Cain's sexual harassment cases.

Sullivan emailed: “I'm simply citing the ties between Romney camp and [the National Restaurant Association] based on the facts.”

The “facts” are actually one fact, that a Romney donor succeeded Cain at the NRA.

Earlier today, Forbes reported that “Cain thinks” a former staffer, Curt Anderson, now an adviser to Perry, is the source of the Politico stories.

Cain told Forbes:

“When I sat down with my general campaign consultant Curt Anderson in a private room in our campaign offices in 2003 we discussed opposition research on me. It was a typical campaign conversation. I told him that there was only one case, one set of charges, one woman while I was at the National Restaurant Association. Those charges were baseless, but I thought he needed to know about them. I don’t recall anyone else being in the room when I told him.”

Curt Anderson phoned me to say “I never heard about this story until I read about it in Politico. I have nothing but good things to say about Herman Cain. I’m not going to bad-mouth Herman Cain to anyone, on or off the record. I think he is a guy of great leadership and integrity.”

Sullivan added in his email: “Mr. Anderson's statement is clear and unambiguous as is ours. No one from our campaign was involved. I have not seen such denials from other campaigns.”

He did not respond to my query as to how this was any different than the accusation without evidence against Anderson.

In fact the Romney camp has denied any involvement with the matter. And why would he want to take down Cain, who is keeping votes from Perry?

Perry's staff has made an error here by getting in the way of Cain's self-destruction. In the process they've made themselves seem pretty slimy as well.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.

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