NASHUA, N.H. – Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said today that he believes the scandal stemming from allegations of sexual harassment is behind him.
“As far as I’m concerned, there’s no new information, no new documentation, no new nothing,” Cain said, speaking to reporters after a rally at the Radisson Hotel.
Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has no political experience, but rose in the polls last month with a cadre of dedicated supporters who see him as an authentic candidate, and like his status as a businessman and Washington outsider. But Cain has been plagued by foreign policy blunders and accusations of sexual harassment.
Politico first reported that the National Restaurant Association allegedly agreed to financial settlements with two women who claimed Cain sexually harassed them while he was president of the association. Since then, two other women have come forward with complaints. Cain denies the allegations.
Recently, Cain was criticized for a stumbling answer he gave – after a long pause - when asked about Libya at an editorial board meeting with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Speaking to about 100 supporters today, Cain addressed the criticism against him in his typical blunt fashion. “Some people want to convict me in the court of public opinion,” Cain said of the sexual harassment allegations. “The people that are on the Cain train they don’t get off because of that crap.”
Cain also stood by his previous statements that the commander-in-chief does not need to have a mastery of foreign policy. “Who knows every detail of every country of every situation on the planet? Nobody,” Cain said. “A leader is supposed to make sure we work on the right problems, assign the right prerogatives, put together the right people, and lead.”
Regarding his hesitancy in answering the Journal Sentinel’s question, he said, “They spent more time focusing on when I’m not talking than when other candidates are talking… That must have been a really powerful pause,” Cain said. He added, “There’s the point they’re missing. I think before I speak.”
This was Cain’s first visit to New Hampshire since the Oct. 11 debate at Dartmouth College. He has largely avoided the town hall meetings and meet-and-greets that are standard fare for candidates in New Hampshire, instead focusing on a book tour that took him through the South.
A Bloomberg News poll of New Hampshire Republican voters out yesterday put Cain at just 8 percent.
Cain said today that he will work to win New Hampshire, but realistically, is aiming to come in second place.Shira Schoenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @shiraschoenberg.