- (Photo: REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst)
A former employee of the National Restaurant Association who is now involved in Texas Governor Rick Perry's campaign has come forward saying that he saw Herman Cain sexually harass a woman while he was CEO of the association. The Cain campaign is now suggesting that Perry’s campaign may be behind the leaks.
Chris Wilson, a former employee of the restaurant association and now a Republican pollster, told KTOK radio station in Oklahoma that he saw Cain sexually harass a woman during an association dinner in Virginia in the late 1990s.
Wilson said that the woman was so upset that she left the restaurant. “It was very uncomfortable,” Wilson told Politico, adding that several people asked Cain to stop.
Interestingly, Wilson is now associated with Perry’s campaign and manages polls for a Super Pac that is raising money for Perry’s candidacy.
However, what is not immediately clear is if a third female is potentially stepping forward or if Wilson is recounting a story from one of the two former employees who left the association after a settlement and confidential agreement was reached.
The Associated Press is reporting that a third female is considering filing a workplace complaint against Cain. The woman has said that Cain invited her to his corporate apartment and commented on how attractive she was.
Cain had a full day as he spoke to a Virginia technology council in McLean Wednesday morning before venturing to Washington and to Capitol Hill. At the morning breakfast, Cain specifically told reporters not to question him about the sexual harassment issue.
“I am here with these doctors and that’s what I’m going to talk about,” Cain told reporters. “So don’t even bother even asking me all of these other questions you all are curious about. Don’t even bother.”
Since the story first broke on Sunday, Cain has made several comments that reference the fact that his detractors are coming after him because he is leading in several polls and because he is black.
J.D. Gordon, Cain’s campaign spokesperson, is dismissing the most recent reports.
“Mr. Cain has said over the past two days at public events that we could see other baseless allegations made against him as this appalling smear campaign continues,” Gordon said in a statement. “He has never acted in the way alleged by inside-the-beltway media, and his distinguished record over 40 years spent climbing the corporate ladder speaks for itself.”
Meanwhile, Cain is suggesting that the Perry campaign may be the reason the accusations have come to light. Curt Anderson, who also now works with the Perry campaign, formally worked with Cain on his unsuccessful 2004 campaign for U.S. Senate in Georgia.
However, Anderson denies even knowing of the accusations until they were made public earlier this week.
“I have nothing but good things to say about Herman Cain,” Anderson told Politico. “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.”
But the Perry campaign did not miss the opportunity to shift the focus to the Romney team.
CBS News’ Jan Crawford reported that Ray Sullivan, who is Perry’s campaign spokesperson, has denied that the Perry campaign was involved, but in reference to the Romney campaign, Sullivan said, “I wouldn’t put it past them.”
Mark Block, Cain’s campaign chief of staff, is pointing the finger back to the Perry camp.
“This is one of the reasons why people don’t get involved in politics,” Block said on Wednesday’s Fox News’ Special Report. “The actions of the Perry campaign are despicable.”