Businessman Herman Cain appeared on On The Record with Greta Van Susteren last night to address allegations regarding a claim of sexual harassment made during his tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
Up to this point, Cain’s handling of the situation has been wobbly and this interview was an attempt to set facts straight and answer some of the lingering questions. Cain contends he did nothing wrong, and in his defense, the allegations were proven baseless though a settlement was given to the two females listed in the complaint.
Report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
WASHINGTON — Presidential candidate Herman Cain said Tuesday that he never changed his story about sexual harassment allegations against him in the 1990s while he was the head of the National Restaurant Association, despite giving a series of conflicting statements in the two days since the accusations were disclosed.
A day earlier, Cain had said he was unaware of a financial settlement given a female employee in connection with allegations Cain had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior. He later acknowledged he was aware of an “agreement” but not a settlement.
“It was an agreement. So it looked like I had changed my story. I didn’t change my story,” Cain told CNN’s Headline News. “The difference between settlement and agreement, it makes a difference to me.”
Over the past two days, Cain has admitted he knew of one agreement between the National Restaurant Association and a woman who accused him of sexual harassment. He has said the woman initially asked for a large financial settlement but ultimately received two to three months’ pay as part of a separation agreement. Cain also acknowledged remembering one of the woman’s accusations against him, saying he stepped close to her to make a reference to her height, and told her she was the same height as his wife.
He has said he is not aware of any other agreements or settlements with any other women, though Politico — which first disclosed the allegations Sunday night — reported that the trade group had given financial settlements to at least two female employees who accused the entrepreneur of inappropriate sexual behavior.
Time will tell how this affects Cain in the polls and, if I were him, I would not be looking forward to this question coming up in one of the many upcoming debates. Unfortunately, in this day and age, whether an allegation is serious or not, the words “sexual harassment” get attached to every news story for the next couple months and it will create a hurdle for the candidate.