Cain Says He Wasn't 'Totally Blindsided' by Accusations

Wednesday, 02 Nov 2011 05:49 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Presidential candidate Herman Cain said Tuesday he decided to confront accusations of sexual harassment even though he was not initially clear on all the details because he believed he owed an explanation to his supporters.
 
“I did it for the public and I did it for my supporters. And even though I hadn't had 24 hours to process exactly what I was going to say or I hadn’t had 24 hours to try and recollect some of the details, I wanted to go out front with it even though, by the end of the day, I had recalled more of the details,” Cain told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. “Bill, this was 12 years ago — I did it for my supporters and they have responded in a positive way because I got out in front and was direct in addressing this issue.”

Cain said he was “not totally blindsided” by Politico’s accusations.

“My campaign was made aware that this story might break 10 days ago,” Cain said. “But we made a conscious decision not to go chasing two anonymous sources and not knowing what the rest of the story is going to be.”

O’Reilly, however, asked Cain if his campaign was aware that Politico was preparing a story on two women who had accused the businessman of sexual harassment when he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association, shouldn’t they have been better prepared.

“We didn’t have all of that, Bill, but we did — we do have a rapid response consultant but you are right, what happened was when questions got asked, some of them I didn’t participate and I was trying to recollect — I was trying to remember some of those facts in the middle of a very busy day,” Cain said. “So you are right. Could we have started earlier such that I would have been better prepared to be more crisps with the response? Yes. But I still didn’t want to wait because I wanted my supporters to know that was I not about to duck this issue.”

O’Reilly then asked Cain whether the reports — and his responses — have hurt his campaign.

“I don’t think so. Bill: In the last 24 hours, our fundraising has been the highest it has been since I have been in this campaign,” Cain said. “The phone calls into our campaign office have just locked up the phone system practically and I have many former employees who have called and stepped forward and say that they would be glad to do a testimonial on my character and my integrity.

“So, no I don't believe that it's hurt my campaign at all,” he said. “Just based upon not only the volunteers and the phone calls but the fundraising has just really gone up dramatically.”

Cain said he saw parallels between his case and those made against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings.

“I see some parallels — but there is one big difference: I’m running for president of the United States — and, Bill, I believe that I have people on both sides of the aisle who really do not want me to get the nomination to become president,” he said. “Why? Because I am an unconventional candidate and the American people are connecting with my message, and they are connecting with me.”

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