Herman Cain, his aides, and prominent supporters have gone to great lengths to push back against reports that the Republican presidential candidate sexually harassed two women while CEO of the National Restaurant Association. Some of their arguments directly address the question of whether or not Cain harassed two women in the 1990s (for example: Cain says he didn’t harass two women in the 1990s) while others (for example: the existence of opposition research) are perhaps a little less relevant.
Let’s take a minute to review the following items which — while quite interesting points! — don’t actually address the central question at hand.
Things That Do Not Affect Whether Or Not Herman Cain Sexually Harassed Two Women In The 1990s
Whether President Obama Has Ties To Bill Ayers
“They ought to be asking questions to President Obama about his relationship with Bill Ayers, not asking me.” -Herman Cain, 11/3/11
Whether President Obama’s Grades Are Publicly Available
“You guys are going to vet this and I have no doubt you’ll look into this as carefully as Obamas grades.” -Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX)
Whether Bill Clinton Was Accused Of Sexually Harassing Women In The 1990s
“But they don’t care about real sexual harassment as we know from Bill Clinton. He dropped his pants and said kiss it to Paula Jones.” -Ann Coulter, 10/31/11
“But shall we recall another time? When a sitting President of the United States, a white liberal, was accused by multiple women of not only sexual harassment… but rape?” -Jeffrey Lord 10/30/11
Whether Clarence Thomas Was Accused Of Sexually Harassing Women In The 1990s
“In the eyes of the liberal media, Herman Cain is just another uppity black American who has had the audacity to leave the liberal plantation. So they must destroy him, just as they tried destroying Clarence Thomas.” -Brent Bozell, Media Research Center, 10/31/11
Whether Cain’s Accusers Are Liberal
“Iowa Rep. Steve King said the women who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment are likely ‘liberal activists’ and ‘official hyperventilaters’ of the first order.” -Politico, 11/3/11
Whether Herman Cain Is Popular
“I believe this is coming up now because I’m doing so well in this Republican presidential campaign… a lot of people have a problem with the fact that I’m doing so well and I’m so likable.” -Herman Cain, 10/31/11
Whether Herman Cain’s Policy Positions Are Popular
“[S]ince they cannot shoot holes in my proposals, my plans, they’re going to try to shoot holes in me, the candidate. So that’s the reason it is coming up now.” -Herman Cain, 10/31/11
Whether A Rival Campaign Leaked The Story
“Rick Perry needs to apologize to Herman Cain and, quite frankly, to America.” -Mark Block, 11/2/11
Whether Rahm Emanuel Was Somehow Involved
“A friend of the Cain campaign believes a National Restaurant Association (NRA) employee out of the Chicago office leaked the story to the Perry campaign via information and influence from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.” -Washington Times, 11/2/11
Whether Liberals Dislike Cain
“They’re at it again. The left is trying to destroy Herman Cain.” -Fundraising e-mail for a pro-Cain Super PAC, Americans For Herman Cain.
Whether Republican Elites Dislike Cain
“[B]ecause I am unconventional candidate running an unconventional campaign and achieving some unexpected unconventional results in terms of my, the poll, we believe that, yes, there are some people who are Democrats, liberals, who do not want to see me win the nomination. And there could be some people on the right who don’t want to see me because I’m not the, quote/unquote, ‘establishment candidate.’” -Herman Cain 11/2/11
Whether Herman Cain’s Race And Ideology Frightens Liberals
“Liberals are terrified of Herman Cain. He is a strong conservative black man. Look at the way they go after Allen West and Michael Steele and they aren’t even running against Obama. They are terrified of strong, conservative, black men.” -Ann Coulter 10/30/11
“It really is about blacks and Hispanics getting too uppity.” -Rush Limbaugh 10/31/11
Whether You Think Sexual Harassment Is A ‘Thing’
“Is there anyone who thinks sexual harassment is a real thing?” -John Derbyshire, 11/2/11
Correction: A previous version misattributed a quote about Bill Clinton to Sean Hannity — it was, in fact, Ann Coulter appearing on Hannity’s show.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.