Republican presidential candidates aren’t ganging up on competitor Herman Cain in the wake of reports of sexual harassment accusations against him. And that’s because they don’t think they need to, as they see him self-destructing on his own, Politico
They also don’t want to alienate Cain’s conservative supporters. Many Cain critics never thought the businessman really had a chance for the nomination from the get-go.
“He’s not going to be the nominee, if I can just be honest here. He was never going to be the nominee,” Weekly Standard editor William Kristol said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Ed Rollins, the veteran Republican strategist, told Politico that Cain already is toast. “This guy knows nothing about foreign policy, ‘9-9-9’ has been ripped apart, the girl problem is not going away, and his beating up the media shows a thin skin that will get him in trouble. You combine that with no real campaign, and his days are limited,” he said.
Cain hasn’t been hurt in the polls yet. The only major national survey taken after the scandal news broke was a Washington Post/ABC News survey showing Cain keeping his support at 23 percent, still statistically tied with Mitt Romney.
Romney or Rick Perry would be unlikely to suffer so little in the polls after such allegations. And it’s also unlikely their competitors would ignore the scandal.
The other candidates certainly don’t want to turn off Cain’s tea party supporters and don’t think they have to take the risk. “Republicans want to root for him. He’s kind of a folk hero. But in the end, you’re going to have a lot of voters politely excuse themselves from the conversation and go to other candidates, because realistically he shouldn’t be president of the United States,” California-based GOP strategist Rob Stutzman, told Politico.
“People are going to grow tired of this and want it and him to go away,” he said. “He’ll never absolutely implode. He’ll degrade, and I think he’ll get to Iowa and if he ends up being third or fourth place, it’s done.”
House Speaker John Boehner stayed above the fray on ABC’s “This Week,” saying that the presidential candidates can have “a nice debate about this.”
The only references to Cain’s woes from the other candidates have been mild. For example, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have said voters should choose someone who’s thoroughly known — someone with no “surprises,” as Bachmann put it.
“This just needs to play out, and the smart move for any other candidate is to say as little as possible and refrain from passing judgment,” Republican strategist Ana Navarro, a Floridian who supports Huntsman’s campaign, told Politico.
But Democrats would pounce on Cain if he’s nominated, she said. “The Obama folks have to be salivating at the thought of going up against a guy with these sorts of skeletons now partially out of the closet and who does not know things like that China has nuclear capabilities.”
Democrats haven’t felt a need to do anything.
Ty Matsdorf, spokesman for the Democratic group American Bridge, told Politico that his group doesn’t see a point in putting its potent research and tracking operation to work on Cain, thanks to his own actions.
“From our standpoint, to be totally honest with you, Herman Cain is doing our job for us,” Matsdorf said. “If our job is to highlight Republicans’ flip-flops or missteps — he’s doing it himself, so there’s not a lot of room for us to do anything even if we wanted to.”
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