The Big Conversation:
The swirling Herman Cain sexual harassment scandal on Wednesday swept up Rick Perry as more allegations emerged.
An embattled Cain accused the Perry campaign yesterday of leaking to Politico the allegations that Cain, as CEO of the National Restaurant Association, sexually harassed female colleagues in the 1990s. The story, and the accompanying fallout, has engulfed Cain's ascendant campaign this week.
“We’ve been able to trace it back to the Perry campaign that stirred this up in order to discredit me,” Cain said in a phone call to supporters on Wednesday, according to Politico. “The fingerprints of the Rick Perry campaign are all over this, based on our sources.”
On Fox News, Mark Block, Cain's campaign manager, blamed Perry adviser Curt Anderson — who worked on Cain's failed 2004 U.S. Senate campaign — for spreading the story, which on Wednesday grew to include a third woman who alleged that Cain had harassed her in the 1990s.
Perry campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan told the Tribune that the claims were "outrageous," saying, "Nobody and no one at this campaign was involved in the story in any way. Anderson said he respected Cain and that he "would never speak ill of him, on the record or off the record."
Sullivan instead tried to shift blame to the Mitt Romney campaign, which he said has "real ties" to the National Restaurant Association: Two former National Restaurant Association officials, Sullivan said, have donated to Romney.
A Romney spokesman called the allegations "absolutely not true."
Cain's allegation against Perry may be one of the sharpest attacks seen yet in the presidential race this year, but luckily for the Perry campaign, as the Amarillo Globe-News notes, the spat may deflect attention away from the governor's uncomfortable New Hampshire speech.
- According to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, more than 20 percent of Texas voters say most of the people they know would not vote for a Mormon candidate for president even if they agreed with him or her on the issues. As Daron Shaw, who co-directs the poll, put it: "That's a huge number."
- The Hill reported Wednesday that the first day of a federal hearing on Texas' redistricting plans indicated that the state's redrawn congressional map is "almost certain" to be thrown out.
- A federal judge on Wednesday declined to throw out a controversial school-prayer lawsuit filed earlier this year by the family of an agnostic student, the San Antonio Express-News reports. “The district will continue to fight and stand up to false allegations, rumors and negative slander,” said a statement from the Medina Valley Independent School District.
"I mean, was I poking a little fun? I'll be real honest with you, I don't really remember anything out of the ordinary." — Rick Perry to the San Francisco Chronicle on his now infamous New Hampshire speech, which went viral over the weekend
- Outrage over video of judge beating daughter, San Antonio Express-News
- Nate Silver: Is Obama Toast? Handicapping the 2012 Election, The New York Times Magazine
- Amid Drought, McCaul's Water Use Raises Eyebrows, The Texas Tribune