Cain: "I Have Never Sexually Harassed Anyone"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 31 2011 1:44 PM

Cain: "I Have Never Sexually Harassed Anyone"

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 31: Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain delivers remarks at The National Press Club October 31, 2011 in Washington, DC. Cain has denied accusations made in a report of sexual harassment while he was president of the National Restaurant Association. Cain is tied with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at the top of the Des Moines Register's recent survey of likely caucus-goers in Iowa. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

National Press Club president Mark Hamrick did the Fourth Estate's job for us. After Herman Cain finished a short speech about the merits of 9-9-9 and his foreign policy of "peace through strength and clarity," Hamrick waved a print-out of last night's Politico scoop and asked him to respond. Cain wiped his brow and took the podium.

"I would be delighted to clear the air," he said. "I have never sexually harassed anyone. While at the National Restaurant Association, I was accused of sexual harassment. Falsely, I might add. When charges were brought, I recused myself and allowed my general counsel and my human resources officer" to handle the cases. He said he was never aware of the settlements. "I hope it wasn't for much, because I didn't do anything."

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Those were the details, such as he were. Cain's defense is that the accusations were false; basically, the NRA got hosed by disgruntled employees. "I have never sexually harassed anyone, and those accusations are false." Hamrick asked if he wanted the NRA, which has been rebuffing all request for comment, should help him clear the air. "There's nothing to shoot down," he said.

Halfway into the Q&A, this remained the sole question about the scandal.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.