While appearing on CNN Monday, Herman Cain announced that a woman would be accusing him of having 13-year extramarital affair with her. The accuser, Ginger White, did appear on an Atlanta television station, saying, "I was aware that he was married, and I was also aware that I was involved in a very inappropriate situation—relationship." However, the Republican presidential candidate denied the allegations, claiming that he and Ginger were just friends.
This accusation follows a slew of other allegations that Herman Cain behaved inappropriately towards female employees during his tenure at the National Restaurant Association. In the month since the harassment allegations originally came to light, Cain has fallen in the polls while the latest "non-Romney" GOP candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, known to have committed adultery himself, rose to the top tier. However, regarding the initial Cain harassment accusations, Susan Milligan made the point that not all sex scandals would be treated equally:
Nor is anything involving sex the same. Texting your female employees pictures of your genitalia? Harassment. Texting the same to women who voluntarily entered into a cyber relationship with you? Really creepy, offensive, and narcissistic. Having an affair when you're an elected official? Very distasteful, but arguably no one's business. Lying about it, then asking your campaign manager to lie for you, and using campaign funds to achieve the cover-up? Also really bad, and possibly criminal, depending on whether there was misuse of campaign cash.
Robert Schlesinger called the alleged consensual affair "irrelevant." He argues:
Now it may be that some voters, especially those in Republican primaries, take a different view, reasoning that there's a link between private conduct and policy outcomes, but frankly they're wrong. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, to name two, were unfaithful and still managed to be two of this nation’s more important leaders.
Schlesinger points out, as does Milligan, that the sexual harassment allegations against Cain should still be taken seriously, even if an affair should not.
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Previously: Does 'Black Friday' Start Too Early This Year?