Cain accuser stands by allegation; he ducks issue

Cain cut off reporters who asked about harassment allegations and suggested journalists were behaving unethically.

Last Updated: Nov 06, 2011, 16:33 PM IST

The Woodlands (Texas): Republican presidential
contender Herman Cain got upset with reporters and vowed he
would never answer questions about allegations of sexual
harassment a decade ago, which have hobbled his unconventional
campaign.

Speaking after a one-on-one debate with rival Newt
Gingrich yesterday, Cain cut off reporters who asked about
harassment allegations and suggested journalists who wanted
answers were behaving unethically.

When one reporter tried to ask a question about the
allegations, Cain cut him off. When another asked him if he
planned to never address the allegations, he replied "You got
it."

Cain says his staff does not want him to respond to the
stories and "we are getting back on message, end of story."

Cain is struggling to get past allegations that he
sexually harassed several female employees while he headed a
restaurant trade group, claims that have dogged his unlikely
challenge for the Republican nomination to oppose President
Barack Obama.

Cain debated Gingrich, another Republican presidential
candidate. Conservative tea party organisers of the event had
one off-limit topic the sexual harassment allegations.

That would seem to be welcome news to Cain as he tries to
refocus on issues such as the future of Social Security
retirement benefits and Medicare health care coverage for the
elderly expected points of discussion with Gingrich.

Gingrich had nothing to gain by raising allegations of
improper sexual behaviour by one of his rivals. The former
House speaker has been divorced twice and married three times,
including to his current wife, with whom he had an affair
while married to his second wife.

Cain repeatedly has denied ever sexually harassing
anyone, and his campaign said it was "looking to put this
issue behind us."


Bureau Report