Questions Herman Cain Needs to Answer

His record as a businessman needs more scrutiny.

By + More

What do we really know about Herman Cain?

Not enough.

His attempt to ward off sexual harassment allegations is making the news, but his record in other respects has gotten scant attention from the media, from his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, and from the Democrats. That's probably because few expected Cain to get this far in his campaign. But now that he has reached the top tier of the GOP field, he will get a lot more scrutiny.

[See political cartoons of the 2012 GOP hopefuls.]

Here are five areas where Cain's past should be placed under the microscope:

—His policies and his management techniques when he was president and CEO of Godfather's Pizza. Did he treat his employees well? What was his record on health and safety issues, on providing benefits for his employees, on unionization, and providing decent wages?

—His record as president of the National Restaurant Association in Washington. He claims to be a Washington outsider but how does that square with his efforts to get favorable government treatment for the restaurant industry? What was his record on occupational health and safety issues, as well as federal oversight? [See why Herman Cain's economic plan has merit.]

—His views as stated when he was the host of a talk-radio show at WSB in Atlanta. What opinions did he express and what audience was the show directed at?

—His political career. Cain says he isn't a politician but he tried to be. He ran as a Republican for president in 2000 and for the Senate from Georgia in 2004, and lost both times. What positions did he take in the past and how do they measure up to his positions today?

—His stint as chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City. What role did he play in shaping policy, and were the positions he took consistent with his views today?

These questions are all fair game. And if Herman Cain expects to remain a credible candidate, he will need to address them in addition to dealing with the allegations of sexual misconduct

  • Ten ways Romney and Perry differ on the economy.
  • Newt Gingrich campaigns slow and steady.
  • Who's in and who's out of the 2012 race.