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No Questions From Van Susteren About Herman Cain’s Contradictory Statements On Sexual Harassment Allegations

Reported by Ellen - November 1, 2011 -

Let me say at the start that I am not at all convinced that Herman Cain actually committed any sexual harassment. I do think his and his campaign’s responses to the allegations have been so odd that they have raised more suspicions than they've quelled. But while Greta Van Susteren did a good job of fleshing out Cain’s version of events during their lengthy interview Monday, October 31, 2011, she never asked about any of the contradictory responses his campaign has given. She also let pass without comment some unsettling responses given during their interview.

As Politico reported in a follow up to its bombshell report on the sexual harassment allegations, hours after Cain had said he was unaware of any settlement of sexual harassment charges, he recalled details of a financial “agreement” with a woman who had accused him of inappropriate behavior. “It’s difficult – if not impossible – to explain Cain’s reversal from earlier Monday, when he said he wasn’t familiar with cash payouts, period, with his later admission that he had discussed terms of settlement with the NRA’s general counsel,” commented Politico’s Alexander Burns.

All this on top of the trainwreck of a conversation Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon had on Geraldo At Large Sunday night.

But Van Susteren did not question Cain about his contradictions.

I don’t know about you but I also found it odd that the only detail Cain could remember from one of the complaints was an instance in which he gestured under his chin and said the woman was about the same height as his wife. If all the allegations were that innocuous, I’d think he would have said so. If they weren’t, it’s uh, surprising that that was the only one he remembered.

Yet he managed to recall that the woman making the charges had gotten an attorney. He also definitively stated that nobody but his general counsel discussed the matter with him. And he remembered that her work performance was “not up to par” as told to him by her boss.

Furthermore, I found it strange that Cain would have been comparing his employee's height to his wife’s. How did he happen to be comparing their heights? I’ve worked with lots of married men and I don’t think one of them has ever compared his wife’s height to mine. There was likely some larger context that Cain omitted.

Van Susteren, perhaps looking to give Cain an out, suggested maybe it was all one big misunderstanding. “A lot of guys don’t know what sexual harassment is… they just think they’re being – complimenting a woman… Are you one of those guys?” she asked.

Cain told her he thought he had a “good sense” of where the line is drawn. “I know I never made any innuendos with the lady that filed the complaint.” That doesn’t quite square with the “I can hardly remember the details” narrative, either.

It also raises the question of whether there were innuendos made with the other lady. When Van Susteren asked about that, Cain looked down and said, “No, I recall that there were times when some of the members of the staff would go out for Friday evening, you know, cocktails or appetizers and this sort of thing and so typically, it could have been a group of us. She was in some of those group activities when we went out together but it was never she and I alone or anything like that.” But being alone together was not the issue and being in a group, of course, does not preclude innuendo or inappropriate behavior.

Rather than ask directly, Van Susteren asked whether he was “one of those guys who says sort of dopey, inappropriate things in groups.”

Cain said no, that the only thing he “could be guilty of” saying in a group of men and women were compliments such as a guy had married up.

Van Susteren asked if there’s “any chance” more women will come forward with similar accusations.

Once again, Cain’s response was a bit unsettling:

To my knowledge, Greta, no. Remember… there wasn’t even an inkling of a sexual harassment charge in all of the other jobs that I had, all the way up until the time that I worked for the National Restaurant Association… Is it possible that someone is gonna make something up? Yes. But is it gonna be credible in terms of, that was an actual sexual harassment case filed? No, because I would have known about it. Is someone gonna step forward and say that I made some inappropriate comments or acted inappropriately that they could call sexual harassment even though they didn’t file a formal complaint? Not to my knowledge. But remember, people can still make stuff up. But I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that there’s no other credible ones out there that can actually show up and OK here we go again. You won’t get a here we go again because there isn’t anything.

Wait a minute! Had Cain just called the complaints credible? The ones the campaign had previously dismissed as not credible?

Van Susteren either didn’t notice or else chose to let the matter go without remark.

I think it’s entirely possible that Cain is not a sexual harasser, that the campaign amateurishly misjudged the import and impact the Politico report would have, and has been spectacularly ill-prepared to deal with it. But Van Susteren’s interview left a lot of questions unasked as well as unanswered.



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