Herman Cain’s wife has pulled out of her first television interview as the sexual harassment claims surrounding her presidential candidate husband continue to grow.
She was due to appear for a face-to-face with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Friday night, but apparently got cold feet.
The interview would have been the first opportunity for the nation to meet the woman who could potentially be the next First Lady as she has avoided publicity and has not been on the campaign trail with her husband.
It would have given Gloria Cain the chance to defend her husband against claims that two women were paid to quit their jobs at the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s after alleging that he had harassed them.
The exact details of their accusations are still unclear, although it is understood that one woman says he invited her up to his hotel room while they were at a convention in Chicago and the other is said to have been subjected to suggestive behavior at an alcohol-soaked lunch in Virginia.
The New York Times’ blog, The Caucus, broke the news that Gloria Cain had pulled out of the eagerly awaited interview. An anonymous source said that she had “apparently had a change of heart,” but gave no reason.
The blog said Mrs. Cain “did not entirely close the door on appearing on the network some time in the future.”
Gloria Cain has mostly stayed home in Atlanta while her husband has hit the campaign trail. She was by his side when he announced his presidential run at the city’s Centennial Olympic Park in May.
He told ABC News on Wednesday, "My wife has been an absolute gem,” adding, “She and I happened to watch the breaking of this story last night together. It disturbed her about the exaggerations and innuendos far beyond what actually occurred.
“She has been 200 percent supportive of me for 43 years.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution carried a lengthy profile of Gloria Cain on Friday, which it said had been in the works long before the sexual harassment allegations broke. However it had few insights into their marriage and the paper said it had requested an interview with her but she had turned them down.
The paper said she is “not known to have ever spoken to the press.”
The Journal-Constitution suggested that the Cains, who are both 65, do not always agree on politics, pointing out that public records showed that Gloria has often voted in Democratic primaries and runoffs over the past decade, including the 2008 Democratic primary in which Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton.
In 2004, the paper said, she voted in both the Democratic and Republican primaries. Herman Cain was on the Republican ballot that year for a Senate seat and finished a distant second in a three-man race.
In his autobiography, “This is Herman Cain,” Cain said he first saw Gloria when she was standing on an Atlanta street corner in the mid-60s when she was about to start her freshman year at Morris Brown College. He, at the time, was a sophomore at Morehouse College.
“I was first attracted by her looks,” Cain writes. “And then I figured out she was also smart.”
In the book he said he is often asked why she is not on the campaign trail with him. “‘She is at home,’ I answer. And Gloria will tell them that she’s not running but she supports me 100 percent. That’s all I need.”
But her absence has led to speculation. Syndicated radio host Steve Deace, who claimed that Cain made “awkward and inappropriate” comments to two of his staff during a visit to his studio in Des Moines, Iowa, described him as “morally inconsistent,” and “compromised in his private life,” adding “the fact the guy’s wife is never around…that’s almost always a warning flag to me.”
Cain has continued to do well in the polls despite the scandal which first broke on Sunday. A new Washington Post-ABC poll released on Friday has him just one point behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Polling for that survey among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents was conducted from Oct. 31 – a full day after the original revelation – until Nov. 3.
The poll said that seven out of 10 Republicans said the sexual harassment reports do not matter when it comes to picking a candidate, although nearly 40 percent thought the allegations were serious.
Two earlier Rasmussen polls, both taken this week among likely GOP primary voters, one in South Carolina and one nationally, had Cain leading.
And his fundraising has actually taken an upward swing in the past few days, with his campaign reporting that he has taken in $1.2 million in the past week, nearly half the amount he had raised in the entire third quarter.
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