Below is a quick transcript of GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s remarks at the National Press Club in Washington this afternoon, addressing Politico.com accusations that he sexually harassed two female employees of the National Restaurant Association while he headed the organization:
”I would be delighted to clear the air. No. 1, in all of my over 40 years of business experience, running businesses and corporations, I have never sexually harassed anyone. No. 2, while at the restaurant association, I was accused of sexual harassment. Falsely accused, I might add. I was falsely accused of sexual harassment, and when the charges were brought, as the leader of the organization I recused myself, allowed my general counsel and my human resource officer to deal with the situation.
“And it was concluded after a thorough investigation – that it had no basis. As far as a settlement, I am unaware of any kind of settlement. I hope it wasn’t for much, because I didn’t do anything. But the fact of the matter is, I’m not aware of a settlement that came out of that accusation.
“Per the article: Two anonymous sources claiming sexual harassment — we’re not going to chase anonymous sources when there’s no basis for the accuasiton. I would draw your attention to the three people mentioned near the end of the article that were at the restaurant association as past chairman, chairman and incoming chairman of the board, who would have known about this if had turned out to be, in fact, a charge with some validity.
“As a result, I have never sexually harassed anyone, and those accusations are totally false.”
Cain was asked by the moderator if he had asked the National Restaurant Association to release records that would back up his statements. Said Cain:
”No. There’s nothing to shoot down. Secondly, the policy of the restaurant association is to not divulge that information – unless they have changed the policy. As far as we’re concerned, enough said about the issue. There’s nothing else there to dig up.”
The moderator then asked Cain if he thought one of his rivals had pointed reporters to the story. Said Cain:
”I told you this bull’s eye on my back has gotten bigger. I have no idea – we have no idea of the source of this witch hunt, which is really what it is. We have no idea.”
One problem with Cain’s pushback has already surfaced. The accusations weren’t, as Cain said, completely anonymous. Before his candidate spoke, campaign manager Mark Block, in a scrum with reporters, conceded that the Cain campaign had been given the name of one of the women days ago by Politico.com, which broke the story.
“I think they did pass a name along, that correct,” he said in a video posted by Talking Points Memo.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider