- - Sunday, October 30, 2011

Citing “multiple sources,” the Politico website reported Sunday night that at least two women made accusations of inappropriate behavior against Republican presidential front-runner Herman Cain when he led the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

The Cain campaign promptly denied the charges Sunday night.

“The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Mr. 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 report said.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said Politico was “dredging up thinly sourced allegations,” including “unsubstantiated personal attacks” and “spreading rumors that never stood up to the facts.”

Politico did not name the women, citing “privacy concerns.”

The candidate himself said he was “not going to comment on that,” when a Politico reporter confronted him in person in Washington on Sunday. In a surprise encounter outside CBS News’ Washington bureau, Mr. Cain turned the question against the reporter, implying that a sexual-harassment charge is easy to make and, as a result, widespread.

“Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?” he demanded twice when asked the same question.