Politico reports that Cain was accused of inappropriate behavior by two women in the 1990's when he was in charge of the National Restaurant Association. The charges could be devastating to the former business executive's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
He hasn't denied the specific allegations described in the story, according to Politico, but his spokesman J.D. Gordon last night described the accusations as "unsubstantiated" and based on unproven rumors. Gordon said the "political trade press" was "casting aspersions" on Cain's character in an effort to derail Cain's campaign, which has surged to the top of opinion polls in recent weeks.
It may be that the allegations are totally false, but Cain hasn't handled the controversy well so far. He has come across as much too vague about what happened and angry that reporters would even ask about it.
Political strategists and crisis managers usually tell their clients to forcefully deny potentially damaging charges in detail if they are untrue, or to release all relevant information immediately to put the furor in the best possible light and relegate it to the past as quickly as possible. So far, Cain has done neither.
He will get a chance to put the matter to rest today in scheduled appearances in Washington, D.C. before the American Enterprise Institute and the National Press Club.