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.”
The Cain campaign’s response this week has been marred by the candidate changing his story on several counts, and new revelations have contradicted the version of events that Cain previously provided.
Another source close to the campaign said Jorgenson isn’t the only one who is unhappy with the response.
“We’ve heard others say I wish this was handled better,” the source said. “We’ve all said that.”
The campaign has confirmed that it has hired an outside attorney — whom it would not name — to help with crisis response.
But still the campaign continues to struggle with its message. Just today, Block went on TV and said that his campaign accepted a Perry aide’s statement that he didn’t leak the information that led to the original story; but then Cain went on the radio and said he still blames the aide, Curt Anderson.
Asked specifically whether he was blaming Block for the botched response, Jorgenson said: “I sure do.” He would not, however, go so far as to say that Cain should fire Block.
“I think (Cain) is getting bad advice, probably because they didn’t know what was coming their way,” Jorgenson said. “So they’re behind the eight-ball and maybe not as organized as they should be. It’s time to reevaluate the campaign organization itself and see if they can’t make a better campaign organization out of this event.”
Cain’s campaign said it disagreed with Jorgenson.
“He has full faith and confidence in Mark Block and the staff,” spokesman J.D. Gordon said of Cain.
Jorgenson also noted that the campaign is full of staff that is not experienced at the presidential level, and suggested that it doesn’t know how to deal with such situations. He said the campaign needs more aides and more experienced staff, noting that it still doesn’t have much of an organization in Iowa.
Earlier this week, in an interview with the New York Times, Jorgenson praised the campaign’s early response and expressed hope that the issue would blow over by the end of the week.