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The Blame Game (JOUR 4460)

Herman Cain is an interesting guy.  If it wasn’t already obvious by his ever-changing stance on abortion or the truly bizarre campaign video he released online, his recent method of defending himself against sexual harassment claims solidifies my personal belief that his thought process can be a little jumbled at times.

Two anonymous women have come forward stating they were victims of sexual harassment at the hands of Cain while he was president of the National Restaurant Association.  Even though Cain maintains his innocence, both women were paid a settlement at the time of the dispute and forced to sign a gag order.  Now, one of the women wants to release a statement and Cain has been wildly pointing the finger at anyone he can think of, like an unmanned machine gun.

So far, he’s blamed:

  • Rick Perry
  • Curt Anderson, a former aide of his who now works for Perry
  • Politico, the news organization responsible for breaking the story
  • Liberals in general, but more specifically: The “liberal media,” and liberals who are trying to scare black conservatives

Where is his PR team through all of this?  Instead of releasing a single statement and leaving the controversy alone until it warranted further comment, Cain has been running his mouth to anyone who will listen.  As CNN notes in the linked article above, his campaign team appears ill-equipped to rein him in and keep him quiet.  If the allegations aren’t true, Cain shouldn’t even be wasting his time.  Slinging mud and inventing controversies are (unfortunately) par for the course when it comes to politics.  But his determination to defend himself only makes him look guiltier.  Cain didn’t help matters when he openly admitted to having fuzzy memories of certain events, like whether or not he ever told Curt Anderson about the incidents or, more importantly, the identity of the second woman.

Cain’s spokesman, J.D. Gordon, said a possible lawsuit against Politico was being discussed.  The news organization has come under fire from Cain’s campaign for not revealing their sources, but any credible journalist would behave the same way.  Unless Politico has been taken for a ride by their anonymous sources, I don’t believe they have anything to worry about if Cain decides to press charges.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I would never work for a Republican campaign.  I also have less than no experience when it comes to political communications.  However, if I were on Cain’s team, this is what I would do:

First – When Politico reached out to Cain 10 days prior to publishing the story, I wouldn’t ignore it.  I would research the agreements reached by Cain and the two women to have a full understanding of the original situation.

Second – Once the story was published, I would instruct Cain to say something along these lines: “Giving these baseless claims more exposure is a waste of the American people’s time.  We are working to investigate and resolve these accusations as quickly as possible so we can focus on more pressing issues like our alarming budget deficit.”

But, judging by the polls, Cain wouldn’t need me on his team.  Despite this controversy, Cain is only trailing Mitt Romney by one percent in the GOP polls.  If Cain wins the Republican nomination, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.


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