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15 Year Old Harassment Story Threatens to Derail the Cain Train

John on October 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Here’s the story which is impossible to miss today:

During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.

The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.

The National Restaurant Association says the complaints are 15 years old, meaning they happened about the time Jonathan Martin had his first legal adult beverage. Still the story is bound to open a can of worms about Cain’s behavior which can’t possibly help him.

Cain’s initial response was that he’d never sexually harassed anyone but that complaints had been made. Byron York says Cain has now filmed an appearance on Greta Van Sustern’s show in which Cain responds in greater detail:

Van Susteren asked what Cain did that led to the accusation.  There were reportedly more than one accusations in the complaint, but Cain said he recalled just one incident.  “She was in my office one day, and I made a gesture saying — and I was standing close to her — and I made a gesture saying you are the same height as my wife.  And I brought my hand up to my chin saying, ‘My wife comes up to my chin.’”  At that point, Cain gestured with his flattened palm near his chin.  “And that was put in there [the complaint] as something that made her uncomfortable,” Cain said, “something that was in the sexual harassment charge.”

Van Susteren asked whether the woman complained at the time.  “I can’t recall any comment that she made, positive or negative.”

I think Cain has a real problem on his hands. It’s nothing his GOP opponents can really use against him, but they won’t have to. The media is going to dig on this story until they reach bedrock. He’s now in for the full Sarah Palin vetting. If there are any more nasty surprises, we’ll hear about them soon.

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