We are careening fast into the interzone of campaign slap-fighting and baseless accusations of leaks. Fine. We were going to get here eventually.
So, first: A guide to the latest round. Cain tells Richard Miniter that he probably knows who leaked the story.
When I sat down with my general campaign consultant Curt Anderson in a private room in our campaign offices in 2003 we discussed opposition research on me. It was a typical campaign conversation. I told him that there was only one case, one set of charges, one woman while I was at the National Restaurant Association. Those charges were baseless, but I thought he needed to know about them. I don’t recall anyone else being in the room when I told him.
Let's move right along past the weird assumption that was the only way stories about an inked settlement could have come out. Anderson, who now works for Perry, denies the story. The Perry campaign denies the story to Rebecca Kaplan of CBS news, who tweets his response: Maybe it was the Romney campaign!
"Not true," Romney spokewoman Andrea Saul tells me.
Are we all caught up? Okay. Now: What role can Politico play in this contretemps? Six reporters worked on this story, and surely they know who leaked it initially -- if anyone leaked it! Instead, Politico's coverage of this round doesn't get into that at all. It's hands off. That's as it should be. Cain, as the candidate who doesn't like having to talk about this, doesn't have the right to demand a reporter's source on a story he knows is true. This might be the next level in the "attack the media! They started it!" Cain defense.