Friday, 02 December 2011

Herman Cain Says Wife Didn't Know About Relationship With Latest Accuser

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Herman CainIn an interview Thursday night with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Herman Cain’s lawyer repeatedly dodged questions as to whether his client had carried on 13-year affair with a woman the candidate describes as a “friend.”

Earlier that day, the influential New Hampshire daily, the Union Leader, reported that the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO had paid money to a woman claiming to have carried on a long-term extramarital affair with Cain.

Ginger White, the woman at the center of the controversy, reportedly received monthly payments from Cain to help her with “month to month bills and expenses.”

Cain admits to helping the woman financially, although such aid was made without his wife’s knowledge, he asserts.

"My wife did not know about it, and that was the revelation," Cain said, according to the newspaper. "My wife found out about it when she (White) went public with it."

This alleged inappropriate relationship with a member of the opposite sex came in the wake of a spate of sexual-harassment allegations that have plagued the once-surging GOP presidential hopeful. Four women have accused the former head of the National Restaurant Association of sexually harassing them during their time at the organization.

Although Cain’s campaign was already struggling before this latest distraction, the story of his relationship with Ms. White may prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

According to an account published by CNN:

The allegation could derail Cain's presidential campaign. He told staffers this week he was reassessing the viability of his bid for the GOP nomination, and acknowledged to reporters Wednesday that the allegations by White led to a drop in campaign contributions.

In an interview with the editorial staff of the Union Leader, Herman Cain made denials similar to those made by his attorney on the Piers Morgan program. He maintains that his relationship with White was never more than friendly, despite the secrecy surrounding it.

As the story is reported by the Union Leader, Cain claims that he and White exchanged text messages, 70 of which originated with White, wherein she asked the candidate for “financial assistance.”

"She was out of work and had trouble paying her bills and I had known her as a friend. She wasn't the only friend who I had helped in these tough economic times, and so her messages to me were relating to 'need money for rent' or whatever the case may be. I don't remember all the specifics."

Cain admitted sending money to White, although he refused to reveal how much he sent her and how often the payments were made.

Cain’s lawyer parroted his client’s story, telling Piers Morgan that many people, male and female, were beneficiaries of Cain’s charity.

When asked how his wife will react to the story of his largesse, Cain responded, “My wife understands that I'm a soft-hearted, giving person."

Thursday night must have been restless for Cain as he told a crowd in Ohio that he would be discussing the matter face-to-face with his wife when he saw her on Friday. 

At that campaign stop in Ohio on Wednesday, Cain railed against those probing into the precise nature of his relationship with White, calling the publishing of such rumors “character assassination. ”

Speaking to those gathered at the West Chester, Ohio event, Cain declared: "They are attacking my character, my reputation and my name in order to try and bring me down."

"I don't believe that America is going to let that happen," he said.

While his relationship with White is still speculative, the impact on his campaign is all too real. Cain admitted that the flood of money was slowing to a trickle.

"The day that this latest one (allegation) hit, fund-raising went way down," he said. "But here's the good news: As the week has gone on and this woman who has made these accusations is basically starting to contradict herself, our fund-raising is going back up. It's not to the level where it was but a lot of people are saying — you know what? They don't believe it."

Cain encouraged supporters to "stay informed because ... stupid people are running America."

The smart money, however, is on there being more to the story than is currently being reported.

The big news, of course, will be the decision made by Cain after consulting with his wife on Friday. If he decides to stay in the race, he will likely follow the path trod by so many other politicians caught in similar sticky situations.

His staff will undoubtedly be anxious to know their future. Reports out of Iowa indicate that Cain met with his Iowa team and told them that he was continuing the campaign for the White House.

In a letter sent Tuesday night after White went public with the story, Cain described her as "a troubled Atlanta business woman.”

White told the media on Wednesday that such aspersions are “very disappointing."

"I'm only here to state the truth and what's happened in the past," she said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"I can't imagine waking up one morning and deciding to come out with this if this was not true," she told ABC. "This has been a very difficult situation for myself, for my family, and it's nothing that I am proud of."

"So far I have been absolutely humiliated, embarrassed," she said.

The story, then, has seemingly destroyed the lives of Ginger White and Herman Cain. The lingering question is just what was the nature of their relationship and will Herman Cain alter his current position that the tale told by White is completely false.

White is unwavering in her insistence that she and Cain were romantically involved. According to published reports, White:

met Cain in the late ’90s at a meeting in Louisville, when he was president of the restaurant association. They had drinks, she said, and he invited her to his hotel room, where he pulled out a calendar and suggested that she meet him in Palm Springs, California.

Proof of their affair, she claims, is further evidenced by the trips she claims to have take with Cain, including one to Las Vegas where the two were spectators at a boxing match.

"I can't make this stuff up," she said.

Another aspect of the story that is consistent with similar incidents in the lives of other prominent politicians, Ginger White insists that her recourse to the media was made reluctantly and that he “never wanted” to go public with her story.

She maintains, moreover, that none of the recent texts exchanged between the two had anything to do with Cain attempting to convince her to keep quiet.

"The funny thing about Herman Cain is, never in a million years did he probably think that I would speak out on this. And honestly speaking, I never wanted to."

What, then, of White’s credibility? CNN reports:

White acknowledged she is being sued for libel by a former business partner. "There were disputes and disagreements" with the partner and the experience became emotional, she said, acknowledging that she made mistakes.

There is a legal maxim about proof that states “a brick is not a wall.” That is to say, one piece of evidence does not make something true. In the case of Herman Cain, the bricks are stacking up and the wall may already be too high to climb over.

Photo of Herman Cain: AP Images

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