Day four of the Herman Cain sexual harassment story is all about the blame game. Team Cain blames Rick Perry for making the press aware of the accusations of inappropriate behavior Cain admits came his way when he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s.
Team Perry, meanwhile, says it’s the Mitt Romney campaign who sent the story to Politico. The Perry camp denies strenuously that they had anything to do with the story which is, at its heart, about accusations Cain has admitted are real — though he says he never harassed anybody. Romney’s campaign also denied they’re the source of the story to TPM and other outlets Wednesday.
Meanwhile on the backburner bubbles the possibility that one of the accusers could make a public statement at any moment. That could send this story ricocheting into a different direction, but for now the Cain campaign seems to think they’re onto something by making the tale about who told reporters Cain was accused of sexually harassing more than one woman rather than the fact that Cain was accused of sexually harassing more than one woman.
“Perry Campaign Used Politico to Attack Cain With Anonymous Sexual Harassment Charges,” reads a press release sent out last night by the Cain team. (Of course, Cain’s campaign has admitted the Politico story wasn’t anonymous, but that’s not really important to constructing the Perry-as-leaker narrative.)
Meanwhile, the man Cain himself says is responsible for the story is totally denying Cain’s version of things. Consultant Curt Anderson advised Cain’s 2004 Senate campaign and now works for a firm that works with Perry. Cain said he told Anderson about the sexual harassment allegations during the course a meeting back in 2003, but Anderson categorically denied that this morning on CNN:
“It’s hard to leak something you don’t know anything about,” he said. Asked directly about the conversation Cain claimed they had eight years ago, Anderson said: “I don’t have any knowledge of any of this and, you know, it’s just not true.”
Then on Fox today, Anderson went a step farther.
“All this stuff about who leaked whatever, any reporter in the free world is free to say anything to anybody that I ever said to them about can Herman Cain,” he said. “I give them carte blanche to do that because I have absolutely nothing to hide.”