11/18/2011 11:52 am ET Updated Nov 18, 2011

Herman Cain Campaign: Secret Service Needed To Protect GOP Candidate From Journalists

Herman Cain is the first 2012 Republican presidential candidate to receive Secret Service protection, and now his campaign is saying it made the security request because of journalists.

According to The Washington Post, Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said Thursday night that the campaign wanted Secret Service protection after an article was published detailing a series of tussles involving journalists at Cain events.

"When he gets out at a rally or a campaign stop, it has been increasingly common for media to be physically putting themselves and others in danger by trying to follow him with a lot of heavy equipment and cameras in close quarters like we saw yesterday," Gordon said, referring to several instances where Cain's security guard blocked reporters.

A spokesman for the Secret Service declined to comment on the reason for the security detail, but Gordon confirmed that the protection began Thursday night in New York. The request for security came amid reports that the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza had been receiving threats.

The Associated Press reports:

While it's unknown whether a specific incident triggered the request, police reports show that Cain's campaign has been the target of a threatening phone call on at least one occasion.

On June 1, Cain's campaign office in Stockbridge, Ga., reported receiving a call from someone who did not identify himself but who claimed to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The man said that Cain, who is black, should not run for the White House.

The earliest a presidential candidate has ever been assigned protection while campaigning was Barack Obama in 2007.