With accusations of sexual harassment out in the open, GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain is facing a firestorm of questions.
On Sunday evening, Politico released a piece alleging that the GOP presidential candidate sexually harassed female employees during his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association. Cain's camp was quick to denounce the claims, with spokesman J.D. Gordon telling the AP that the report was "dredging up thinly sourced allegations" from his tenure at the trade group.
Despite the controversy, Cain continued with his Monday schedule, discussing tax policy at the American Enterprise Institute. When asked about the harassment allegations, TPM reports that he dodged the question, saying "I will take all of the arrows later. I am going by the ground rules that my host set."
TPM's Ryan Reilly got wind of another comment from Cain regarding his personal mettle: "'Herman, be Herman.' And Herman is gonna stay Herman."
Cain's own thoughts aside, another staffer came to his defense on Monday. Chief of staff Mark Block appeared on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown", noting that the accusations within the article were "sourced to a series of unnamed or anonymous sources."
"Herman Cain has never sexually harassed anybody," Block told host Chuck Todd. "Period. End of story."
Republican strategist Karl Rove called into question Cain's own response, noting that the severity of the accusations warrants a "yes or no" answer.
"He's not denying but he ain't responding and that's not the best place to be," said Rove on Fox News, via Politico. "If these allegations are not true, say they aren't true and put it behind you. If not, better get everything out sooner rather than later because in a situation like this, if there is something there, that something’s going to come out."
Shortly after Rove's comments, Cain made his own appearance on Fox News, denying the complaints were true.
"I have never sexually harassed anyone -- anyone," Cain said. "And absolutely these are false allegations."
Cain added: "And yes, I was falsely accused while I was at the National Restaurant Association and I say falsely because it turned out after the investigation to be baseless. The people mentioned in that article were the ones who would be aware of any misdoings and they have attested to my integrity and my character. It is totally baseless and totally false. Never have I committed any sort of sexual harassment."
When asked if he has ever had to deal with sexual harassment claims, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza reiterated his innocence.
"Outside of the Restaurant Association, absolutely not ... If the restaurant did a settle I wasn't even aware of it," Cain said. "And I hope it wasn’t for much because nothing happened. So if there was a settlement it was handled by some of the other officers that worked for me at the Association."
As for any future troubles, Cain was steadfast, noting that no other allegations of this nature are tied to his past.
"Absolutely not," the GOP hopeful said. "If more allegations come I assure you people will simply make them up ... The only other allegations will be trumped up allegations -- there’s nothing else."
After completing the Fox News segment, Cain attended his scheduled speech at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington. He told the audience that he "would be delighted to clear the air" regarding Sunday's controversial report.
On a stronger note, Cain expressed some emotion toward the allegations: "We have no idea the source of this witch hunt," he said.
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