USA 2012: Cain self-destructs, and Huntsman attempts to drag Romney into the fray

Alex Hern covers the accusations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain, Mitt Romney's radio silence, and Huntsman's pitch-perfect "perfectly lubricated weathervane" attack.

The push to become the Republican presidential nominee continues ever onwards. The big news this week is the uncovering of historic allegations of sexual harassment against the current “anyone but Romney” candidate, Herman Cain.

The LA Times broke the story on Sunday evening:

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is denying allegations that he had been accused of sexual harassment when he was head of the National Restaurant Assn.

Cain campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon told the Associated Press late Sunday night that the campaign denied the report.

“Inside-the-Beltway media have begun to launch unsubstantiated personal attacks on Cain,” Gordon said in a written statement to the Associated Press.

By Monday, the Cain campaign’s firm denial was looking far more tenuous. Daily Kos helpfully rounded up Cain’s varying recollections of what actually happened.

Firstly Cain claimed:

“I recused myself and allowed my general counsel and my Human Resource officer to deal with the situation.”

Then his ex-HR officer denied having had any dealings with the accusations, as Politico reports:

“No, I do not,” said Mary Ose, the former human resources chief when asked if she was aware of allegations about Cain’s behavior from his time.

Cain also denied knowledge of the reported five-figure payout to the employees, which was paired with a confidentiality agreement, saying:

“If the Restaurant Association did a settlement I wasn’t even aware of it and I hope it wasn’t for much because nothing happened.”

Mere hours later, he accepted he knew of the payment, but didn’t know how much it was:

“My general counsel said this started out where she and her lawyer were demanding a huge financial settlement… I don’t remember a number.”

Finally, we get Cain’s positively Clintonian non-denial denial, when asked whether he had invited one of the women to his hotel room:

“That I absolutely do not recall. You know, I have no recollection of that.”

Herman Cain’s response to all of this? A rousing rendition of He Looked Beyond My Faults:

At the saner end of the campaign, the Huffington Post reports on Mitt Romney’s front-runner media strategy – don’t say anything:

The Romney campaign, running this cycle from a frontrunner position, has scaled back on the candidate’s accessibility from four years ago and rarely allows for such unguarded moments on the campaign trail.

While Romney has taken the stage for primetime debates and has done a few cable news hits, he’s avoided lengthy interviews with magazines to which he spoke in 2008 – such as Time and Newsweek – and hasn’t appeared on any of the Sunday morning chat shows, a traditional pit stop for any presidential contender.

The reason for this strategy becomes clear when we see the angle Jon Huntsman, dubbed by Wonkette “America’s only Communist Republican”, is using against Romney. Huntsman described Romney as being a “perfectly lubricated weathervane on the important issues of the day”, and followed that up with a video showing Romney’s multiple points of view on issues such as healthcare, climate change, and economic stimuli.

Watch it:

Finally, Rick Perry still exists.

As Wonkette says, covering the launch of his new campaign ad:

This is his “grand plan”, just doing the exact opposite of whatever he was doing before, to try to win back voters who have come to hate him so much that he is losing to Herman Cain even in his own state.

Watch it:

We will have more on the US Presidential race in the World Outside Westminster in Look Left on Friday; sign up to the Left Foot Forward email service to receive it in your inbox.

See also:

Republican tax plans put the myth of conservative economic prowess to bedAlex Hern, October 27th 2011

Huhne attacks “Tea Party Tories” – who on Earth does he mean?!Alex Hern, September 20th 2011

Obama mocks the mad Right and makes the case for the StateShamik Das, September 9th 2011

Crisis caused by Cable’s “right-wing US nutters” is welcomed by Tory backbenchesDaniel Elton, July 25th 2011

Republican elephants enter the room as rivals to ObamaDominic Browne, May 26th 2011

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