AirTalk for October 31, 2011

Will sexual harassment allegations hurt Herman Cain's campaign?

Republican presidential contender Herman

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Republican presidential contender Herman Cain addresses an audience at AEI (American Enterprise Institute) for Public Policy Research on October 31, 2011 in Washington, DC.

Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain's on the defensive today. The former Godfather's Pizza CEO this morning flat out denied those sexual harassment allegations that POLITICO reported over the weekend.

Sunday's story outlined accounts given by anonymous sources that two ex-employees accused Cain of sexual harassment at the National Restaurant Association which Cain operated in the 1990s. The story also says the women received financial settlements upon leaving and agreed not to speak publicly about it. Cain's senior campaign aide Mark Block emphatically denied the allegations, calling the POLITICO report "questionable at best."

This morning, Cain took to the airwaves on Fox News and responded by saying he "never sexually harassed anyone." He called the allegations "totally baseless" and "totally false." Meanwhile, national polls are suggesting Cain's already been losing ground among female voters. AirTalk speaks with the chief investigative reporter from POLITICO, Ken Vogel.

WEIGH IN:

What do the documents they obtained reveal about these allegations? Why has the campaign responded inconsistently to questions on this? Were the original allegations severe and serious enough to constitute sexual harassment? Can the Herman Cain campaign withstand this scrutiny?

Guests:

Ken Vogel, chief investigative reporter, POLITICO

Ron Elving, NPR’s senior Washington editor. His column, Watching Washington, appears online at NPR.org.


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