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Campaign Finance Finagling

Herman Cain's Skeleton Closet: Scandals, Quotes, and Character

He didn't last long in the 2012 presidential primaries, but oh what a ride he had! The man they call "Chocolate Ross Perot" dazzled with his crusty, no-nonsense businessman zingers, impressed everyone who saw him, and crept into front-runner status before his other identity, as the Black Bill Clinton, was revealed.

Yet strangely, the worst mark against his name was never openly discussed. The man was in charge of Domino's pizza. Domino's. I don't care how fast or cheap it is, that is some terrible pizza. Even stoners won't eat Dominos (some times).


"Stupid people are ruining America!" -- Cain, at a time when he led in the polls

"I got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me that I agree or not disagree with Obama?" -- Cain, flubbing a question about Libya

""The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe the more manly he is…. Because the more manly man is not afraid of abundance.... A manly man don't want it piled high with vegetables! He would call that a sissy pizza." -- Herman Cain

"And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I'm going to say, you know, I don't know. Do you know? And then I'm going to say, 'How's that going to create one job?'" -- Herman Cain

"Instead of receiving the help that she had hoped for, Mr. Cain instead decided to provide her with his idea of a stimulus package." -- Attorney Gloria Allred, describing one harassment charge (by a woman seeking help getting a job)

"Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself!" -- Herman Cain

"How do you say 'delicious' in Cuban?" -- Herman Cain, inventing a language while campaigning in Miami

"I would have to have people [in my Cabinet who are] totally committed to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of this United States. And many of the Muslims, they are not totally dedicated to this country. They are not dedicated to our Constitution. Many of them are trying to force Sharia law on the people of this country."

"We didn't hear about it in the previous Congress because Princess Nancy [Pelosi] sent to it committee and it stayed there." -- Cain, complaining about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful American woman politican to date.

"A poet once said, 'Life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it's never easy when there's so much on the line.'" -- Cain, quoting The Pokemon Movie

"It will be a twenty foot wall, barbed wire, electrified on the top, and on this side of the fence, I'll have that moat that President Obama talked about. And I would put those alligators in that moat!" -- Cain's plan to fight illegal immigration

-- Quote Sources

Girls, Girls, Girls!!!

Herman Cain took the "attack the media" strategy to new heights in this campaign while four different women -- two who revealed their names publicly -- accused him of sexual harassment during the time (1996-1999) he ran the National Restaurant Association. As each new sexually harassed woman appeared , he spun it as even WORSE attacks by the media, and raised more and more money from his die-hard supporters. Unfortunately for him, the emergence of the woman who said she was his 13-year-long mistress, plus some substantial evidence of his involvement with her, put an end to that escalation. Cain quit after she produced phone records -- and gave a reporter a private cell phone number that Cain himself answered. He denied an affair but admitted he gave her money because "I thought she was a friend."

Cain's response to the allegations was not exactly the straight talk he promised on the campaign trail. His story kept changing, from absolute denial he had ever met the women, to ridiculing their accusations as silly, to not knowing how much his employer had paid them to go away (about a year's salary each), to discussions of dollar figures. He actually called reporters to deny Ginger White's accusation of a 13-year affair before she even made it. And he just plain lied on several occasions. When Republican Tea Party member Sharon Bialek said that Cain put his hand up her skirt and shoved her head down to his lap -- saying "You want a job, don't you?" -- Cain said "I don't even know who this lady is." But Cain had talked with her in public just 5 weeks earlier at a campaign stop, and radio talk show host Amy Jacobson saw them talking.

Worse was the way he and his associates attacked the women. Cain said all five women were liars, and the events they described "simply didn't happen." Sharon Bialek went public first, and Cain attacked her repeatedly and bitterly, calling her a "troubled woman" with "a long and troubled history" whose statements were "bogus" and "reprehensible." He brought up a paternity dispute and business lawsuits she was involved in, and even compared their resumes, contrasting his success with her having "9 employers in 17 years."

Most amazing was a pastel pink section of Herman Cain's official campaign website called "Women For Herman Cain," which was added in the middle of this controversy. A better name would have been "Bitchy Attacks on Women Harassed by Herman Cain." This web page is full of very mean and catty attacks on his accusers, calling them "scheming women that can be swayed by money, attention or whatever else." This quote, addressed to Mrs. Cain, gives you a feel for the style:

"Dear Mrs. Cain, don’t pay attention to these pathetic husbandless women who are jealous of women like you in happy long-term marriages. These vindictive women can’t find a husband or keep one. They are like stalkers who try to latch on to any man who shows a bit of kindness or attention to them. When these unstable women come out of the woodwork to make accusations about Herman just say, ‘Honey, get a life, I believe my husband.’"

Campaign Finance Shenanigans

Herman Cain's Chief of Staff (Mark Block, the famous "smoking man" from YouTube) and Block's deputy (Linda Hansen), ran a nonprofit corporation in Wisconsin that gave at least $40,000 to the Cain campaign in it's earliest days. Though the FEC is notorious weak at enforcing these rules, this donation is a pretty clear violation of several campaign finance laws. It's also not Block's first violation -- he settled charges of earlier violations by agreening to a $15,000 fine and a 3-year suspension from being able to work on campaigns in Wisconsin, where the violations occurred.

-- Sources


Quote Sources -- Back

9 most ridiculed Herman Cain quotes, The Week, November 18, 2011

Herman Cain Quotes, Brainy, as of 2/7/2012

Top 7 Herman Cain quotes, by Charlie Spiering, Washington Examiner, September 26, 2011

Herman Cain gets double nod in 'quotes of the year', but '99 percent' on top, by theGrio, 12/18/2011

ScandalSources -- Back

A Defiant Herman Cain Suspends His Bid for Presidency, by SUSAN SAULNY, New York Times, December 3, 2011

Herman Cain preemptively denies new sex allegation, by Lucy Madison, Brian Montopoli, CBS News Political Hotsheet, November 29, 2011

Witness saw Herman Cain and accuser together last month/a>, by Tom Cohen, CNN, November 09, 2011

‘SHE IS VERY RELIABLE’: Another Cain accuser only doing right thing, family and friends say, by M.L. Nestel and Deborah Hastings, The Daily, November 8, 2011

Herman Cain Launches ‘Women For Cain’ With Brutal Attacks On ‘Husbandless’ Accusers, by Benjy Sarlin, Talking Points Memo, December 2, 2011

Women For Herman Cain, on the Herman Cain website (pretty wonky web performance as of Feb. 7, 2012)

Cain attacks accuser, cites woman’s ‘long and troubled history’, by Justin Sink, The Hill, 11/08/11

Live-Blogging The Cain Presser, by Andrew Sullivan, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, November 8, 2011

Does Herman Cain Also Have A Campaign Finance Problem?" by Doug Mataconis, Outside the Beltway, October 31, 2011

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Copyright 2012 Mark Saltveit. Photograph of Cain By Cliff1066 and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic, via Wikimedia Commons