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Herman Cain: Curt Anderson, Rick Perry Adviser, Behind Sexual Harassment Allegations Leak

First Posted: 11/02/2011 6:00 pm Updated: 01/02/2012 4:12 am

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain suggested Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign was complicit in pushing sexual harassment accusations made against him more than a decade ago into the spotlight.

The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza signaled his belief to Forbes that Curt Anderson -- who worked on Cain's unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2004 and now serves as an adviser for Perry's political operation -- was behind the allegations in question resurfacing.

Forbes reports:

In the summer of 2003, Cain recalls briefing Anderson -- his general campaign consultant at the time -- that sexual harassment claims were brought against him while he was chairman of the National Restaurant Association from 1996 to 1999.

Anderson, however, contends he first learned of the accusations Cain faced when they resurfaced in a story published earlier this week by Politico.

"I have nothing but good things to say about Herman Cain," he said. "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."

CBS News' Jan Crawford reports that Perry campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan denied Cain's claim that the Texas governor's campaign was involved in the sexual accusations landing in the headlines. Pointing to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's team, however, he said, "I wouldn't put it past them."

During an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday, Cain chief of staff Mark Block said that Perry's campaign needs "to apologize" to the former Godfather's Pizza CEO.

The AP relays background on the controversy surrounding Cain:

Though trying to project an image of campaign business as usual, Cain appeared frazzled at times Wednesday and couldn't escape the questions that have dogged him since a published report Sunday night that at least two women had complained about his behavior while at the restaurant association and had been given financial settlements. The controversy has arisen two months before the leadoff Iowa caucuses and as polls show Cain at the head of the GOP field alongside former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

On Wednesday, the AP reported that a third woman indicated she was considering filing a workplace complaint against Cain over allegedly inappropriate behavior.

She says the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.

She worked for the National Restaurant Association when he was its head. She told The Associated Press that Cain made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against him.

The Hill reported earlier this week that both the Perry and Romney campaigns denied any involvement in pushing the story into the spotlight.

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Filed by Elyse Siegel  |