Conservatives Hesitantly Stand by Cain Amid Sexual Harassment Claims

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    (Photo: REUTERS / Rebecca Cook)
    Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain addresses the crowd during a campaign stop to launch his "Economic opportunity zone plan" in front of the empty, closed Michigan Central Train Station in Detroit, Michigan, October 21, 2011.
By Stephanie Samuel, Christian Post Reporter
November 1, 2011|12:56 pm

Conservatives, though hesitant, continue to stand up for Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain despite discrepancies in his story denying sexual misconduct with past employees of the National Restaurant Association.

Since denouncing past sexual harassment claims Monday as “baseless,” Cain has revealed details about the complaints with Fox News Host Greta Van Susteren that cast doubt on his story.

He told Susteren after his speech at the Washington, D.C. National Press Club, “I can’t even remember her name … but I do remember the formal allegation she made in terms of sexual harassment.”

He recalled one of his accusers was a middle-aged writer working on the same floor as his Washington office and that the accusations consisted of “simple stuff.”

“She was in my office one day and I made a gesture saying – and I was standing close to her and made a gesture (bringing his hand up his chin) – ‘you are the same height as my wife.’”

Cain also publically acknowledged a settlement despite having denied knowledge of a settlement earlier that day.

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In the same Fox News appearance, Cain said that his attorney settled for what he believed was “three-month salary.”

At the National Press Club, however, Cain said, “I am unaware of any sort of settlement. I hope it wasn’t for much because I didn’t do anything.”

Cain said media reports about the incidents led him to think back to the incidents.

Politico also found some discrepancies in his story.

Cain also said, “When the charges were brought, as the leader of the organization, I recused myself and allowed my general counsel and my human resource officer to deal with the situation.”

The National Restaurant Association’s former human resources officer Mary Ose told the publication prior to Cain’s statements that she could not recall complaints from female employees.

Conservative figures have expressed some reservation upon hearing the allegations.

Jeff Jorgensen, chairman of Iowa’s Pottawattamie County Republican Party, told The New York Times, “My stomach turned,” when he heard the allegations.

“It’s not the Herman Cain we know,” Jorgensen said.

Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance urged Cain to give direct answers, revealing that she had experienced sexual harassment in a similar situation.

For now, conservatives seem to be content with Cain’s explanations.

Nance is waiting to see what happens in the next few days.

She told The Christian Post via email, “In all fairness that this characterization is completely contrary to the Herman Cain I know. Herman Cain has only been 100 percent respectful and deferential to me. I have never heard other women in conservative political circles complain of his behavior and they would complain loudly. This just isn't consistent with my experience with Herman Cain.”

Other conservatives such as pundit Ann Coulter have strongly denounced attacks against Cain.
Rush Limbaugh also defended Cain on his radio show saying of the opportune coverage, “This is about blacks and Hispanic getting uppity.”

Iowa polls in October show Cain has surpassed previous state straw poll winner Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry to contend with frontrunner Mitt Romney in a statistical tie.

Politico broke the news about two former employees filing sexual harassment complaints in the 1990s on the eve of Cain’s talk at the prestigious National Press Club.

Cain and his staff maintain that he has been “falsely accused.” Cain said he worked as CEO of the National Restaurant Association from 1996 to 1999, during which time he was married to his wife of 43 years, Gloria.

 

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