Is Herman Cain bulletproof?
Herman Cain’s struggle to get from under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations from the 1990s isn’t stymying his fundraising efforts. Apparently it hasn’t diminished his appeal with some grassroots conservative voters, either — in fact, many are rallying around him.
“It has translated into additional enthusiasm for Herman Cain,” Bob Anderson, Johnson County Republican chairman, told The Washington Times. “People are not upset at him at this point, because the accusations haven’t resonated with them as being true. They are upset that it’s dirty politics and they don’t know where it is coming from.”
Mr. Anderson’s view dovetails with the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll that shows Mr. Cain’s support is growing in the Republican presidential race. It puts him second to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and comfortably ahead of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is running third.
“Herman Cain is showing initial resilience in the face of allegations of sexual impropriety: More than half of potential Republican voters say the controversy is not serious, fewer than a quarter say it makes them less likely to support Cain — and he’s running essentially evenly with Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination,” the survey found.
The poll, though, also warns of signs that the controversy could spell trouble for Mr. Cain’s presidential dreams, with about four of 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents saying the allegations are a serious matter that could make them less apt to support him.
“We’re pleased to hear these poll numbers and believe that the public sees this awful smear campaign for what it is … a malicious attack on a prominent conservative simply because his critics disagree with his politics and view him as a threat,” said Mark Block, chief of staff to the Cain campaign.
The story continued to develop Friday when Politico, a Washington-based politics newspaper that unearthed the allegations, reported that one of the two women who accused Mr. Cain of sexual harassment — and received a financial settlement — while he led the National Restaurant Association released a statement through her lawyer in which she sticks to the allegations that Mr. Cain was responsible for a “series of inappropriate behaviors.”
The Cain campaign, meanwhile, is suggesting that the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO has had some of its strongest fundraising totals of the campaign season since the allegations lodged against him in the 1990s were reported Sunday by Politico.
“This morning I announced my newly formed Iowa Fund. I am incredibly excited to announce that the Iowa Fund has already topped the $100,000 mark!” Mr. Cain said in a Friday morning email blast, adding that he hopes to top $999,999 — playing off his signature campaign “9-9-9” tax plan.
“My opponents, the liberal media, and President Obama are intimidated by my ‘9-9-9 Plan’ and commonsense solutions,” the email said. “They have launched vicious public attacks on me and my campaign.”