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Herman Cain Shrugs Off His Anita Hill Joke: Herman Is Going To Be Herman!

Reported by Ellen - November 12, 2011 -

They must be getting dizzy over at Fox News trying to keep track of all the Republican rehab they’ve been dishing out lately. But Friday (11/11/11), on the heels of Rick Perry’s debate do-over, Herman Cain got almost 25 minutes of friendliness from Your World. Host Neil Cavuto set the tone by gushing in his introduction, “The Cain train full speed ahead! …Herman still hopping!” B-roll footage showed people cheering for Cain. But not even Cavuto could figure out a way to rehab Cain’s latest joke about Anita Hill – in which he was wracked with laughter over a supporter's crack that Hill was “coming out” - after which Cain jokingly asked, “Is she going to endorse me?” Cavuto gently suggested that Cain might want to “dial back” his humor a bit but showing real sensitivity toward women – as opposed to just acting presidential - never entered the equation.

Cavuto also had to contend with Cain’s claim that there is some big, nebulous conspiracy out there to take him down, “but we don’t have any facts so I’m not gonna accuse anybody.”

Then there was his latest confusing “explanation” of the sexual harassment scandal.

Cain told Cavuto that he and his campaign were prepared for the sexual harassment scandal. “We did opposition research on myself… I told them about this Restaurant Association incident,” Cain said.

Considering the contradictory and confusing stories he’s given out, that was one heck of a bad oppo research job they did. But, of course, Cavuto didn’t have the bad manners to point that out.

Cavuto did ask Cain if his staff had stumbled in the response. Cain said no. Why? Because Politico “was trying to bait us into saying something when they didn’t identify the individuals, they didn’t have any documentation and so as a businessman, it was my decision to my staff, ‘Wait and see what they put out there.’”

Of course, if Cain and his staff aleady knew what there was to put out there, they could have been prepared for what was "put out there." Especially since Cain had been notified by Politico that the story was in the works.

He also told viewers he had clarified everything when he went on On The Record. Except… he didn’t really.

Then came the even more bizarre conspiracy theory about who leaked the story to Politico in the first place.

“Here’s what we believe but we don’t have any facts so I’m not gonna accuse anybody. People who do not want me to get the nomination or become president – I don’t know who these people are, it’s probably a network of them – are behind this because they knew… that some people were going to believe the accusation whether it was true or not. ‘Let’s take a little bit of shine off of Herman’s star and see whether or not it will help to reduce the enthusiasm that people have.’ They knew that, so they achieved that objective. But here’s where it backfired. More people believe me than the accusations and they have demonstrated it not only with their verbal support, people wanting to volunteer, they have demonstrated it with their dollars.”

Finally, after about 20 minutes, Cavuto gingerly broached the Anita Hill joke. Cain had already apologized for calling former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, “Princess Nancy” during a debate last week. Now, Cain told Cavuto, the Hill joke “was hilarious because I would never in my wildest dreams expect her to endorse me… I got a laugh out of it.” The "coming out" part must have been incidental and irrelevant. After all, Cavuto ignored it

Rather than point out that a lot of women might not find the joke funny or that being accused of sexual harassment is not really a laughing matter (especially if you’re innocent), Cavuto helpfully offered that Cain might want to “dial back” his humor now that people are looking at him as a real possibility for the presidency.

But Cain made it clear he has no desire to act presidential. With mock gravity, he said, “I know how to act the presidential image if that’s what (people) want and bore them too, like a lot of other people that speak political speak.” He added, “No. People have connected with me because it’s plain talk.”

However, he said he’ll “dial it back.” "I’m going to dial it from a 10 to a 9."

And then, in case you couldn’t guess, it was time for a 9-9-9 joke.

The Anita Hill exchange is in the second, much shorter video below.

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