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Forbes: Perry Camp Behind Harassment Leak

An ‘op-ed’ from Richard Miniter at Forbes:

Cain Says Perry Camp Behind Sex Harassment Leak

Richard Miniter
November 2, 2011

Was the recent attack on Herman Cain’s presidential campaign a professional hit job? Absolutely, says Herman Cain. And he says he knows just where to look for the guy who did it: At 815 Slaters Lane in Alexandria, Virginia, a low-slung former warehouse in the shadow of a coal plant.

Notice how peculiarly this ‘op-ed’ is written. We never get any direct quotes from Cain accusing Anderson of leaking this information. All we hear (later) is Cain’s description about briefing Anderson on the one incident.

There, beside rusting rail lines, is the home of OnMessage Inc., a Republican-leaning consulting firm recently hired to bolster Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign.

One of the firm’s partners, Curt Anderson, worked on Cain’s losing 2004 U.S. Senate campaign. Cain thinks he’s the hired political gun who leaked details to Politico, a Washington trade publication, of alleged “sexually suggestive behavior” Cain is said to have exhibited towards two women while he ran the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s

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.

For the record Steven Curt Anderson succeeded Cain as the President of the National Restaurant Association in 1999

“I told my wife about this in 1999 and I’ve got nothing to hide,” Cain told me Wednesday. “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.”

If Mr. Cain only told Anderson about "one case, one set of charges, one woman," where did the details of the second case come from?

Curt Anderson phoned me [that is, Richard Miniter] 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.”

So Mr. Anderson is saying that he was never briefed by Cain on the subject?

Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan said it was “patently untrue” that the Perry campaign had any role in placing the sexual harassment story with Politico.

Aside from knowing about the alleged sexual harassment accusations, Cain campaign officials point to the timing of Anderson’s hiring by Perry as evidence of his involvement. The campaign announced Anderson’s role on October 24, just a week before Politico broke the story.

For what it’s worth, the Politico says it first alerted the Cain campaign on October 21st. So this does not quite jibe. Though, as is indicated below, he was a Perry supporter before October 24th.

Does he regret telling Anderson about it? “I don’t regret it at all,” Cain says. “The guy who was supposed to help with strategy should know everything. I put it on the table right from the get go. I wasn’t trying to hide it.”

Again, there has been no direct accusation from Cain.

As for the story itself, Cain campaign officials complain Politico’s piece was an ambush. When Politico’s Martin contacted Cain campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon on late in the day on October 19, Gordon says Martin didn’t supply any details or documents that would allow the campaign to evaluate the claims. There were no names, locations, or exact descriptions of what Cain is alleged to have said or done. Gordon and the campaign say they couldn’t respond because they had no idea what they were responding to. Gordon even begged Harris to send him copies of any documents with the names blacked out. Harris refused

Why haven’t we heard this before?

Washington attorney Joel P. Bennett, who represents one of the two women who claim that Cain mistreated her, doesn’t have a copy of agreements the women signed with the National Restaurant Association. “I haven’t seen a copy of this in 12 years,” he told me, adding that he hopes to get a copy from the National Restaurant Association. His client asked him to stop giving interviews. In the past 24 hours, he said, he had appeared on NBC, CBS, NYT and NPR.

She sure doesn’t sound all that eager to get her story out.

The National Restaurant Association spokesperson, Sue Hensley, said that the association is bound by confidentiality agreements and employee-privacy regulations and cannot release any documents or comment in any way.

The Cain campaign, and even Cain himself, begged the association to at least supply some details, campaign officials say. Citing the confidentiality agreements, the association refused

So it’s no wonder Cain has had a hard time reconstructing what happened nearly 15 years ago

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

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