POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/4
Herman Cain flatly denies that he made an unwanted sexual advance toward a female employee at a work event, but multiple sources tell Politico “there were urgent discussions of the woman’s accusations at top levels of the National Restaurant Association within hours of when the incident was alleged to have occurred.”
The new details “put the woman’s account even more sharply at odds with Cain’s emphatic insistence in news media interviews this week that nothing inappropriate happened between the two.”
The woman in question “told two people directly at the time that Cain made a sexual overture to her at one of the group’s events… She was livid and lodged a verbal complaint with an NRA board member that same night.”
While Americans across the nation are downbeat, a special USA Today/Gallup Poll finds that “voters in a dozen key battleground states for the 2012 election are in an even deeper funk about their lives, Obama’s tenure and the nation’s politics.”
“The underlying perils for the president are particularly pronounced in these battlegrounds, presumably because they are in parts of the country that have been hit hardest by the nation’s economic troubles.”
States polled: Colorado, Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Despite sexual harassment allegations becoming the focus of his campaign this week, a new Rasmussen survey finds Herman Cain continues to lead the GOP presidential field with 26%, followed by Mitt Romney at 23% and Newt Gingrich at 14%.
The rest of the field: Rick Perry at 8%, Ron Paul at 7%, Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman at 2% and Rick Santorum at just 1%.
Greg Sargent foudn this question in the recent Suffolk University poll conducted in Florida: Do you think the Republicans are intentionally stalling efforts to jumpstart the economy to insure that Barack Obama is not reelected?
By a 49% to 39% margin, Floridians said they were, while 12% were undecided.
Steve Benen: “Here’s a suggestion for other pollsters: given these results in one of the nation’s largest states, and the fact that the charge has been made by so many prominent political voices, perhaps it’s time to start putting the question to a national audience?”
Update: National Journal reports Senate Republicans blocked a $60 billion infrastructure bill, making the bill the second piece of President Obama’s jobs proposal to be voted down in the Senate.
Andrew Sullivan: “The only way past this for Cain is through it. Let the women speak, if they wish. If they refuse to come forward or detail the accusations, then there’s nothing more to be done. But the golden rule of political scandal applies: disclose everything, apologize for what needs to be apologized, and get it over with.”
Meanwhile, Michael Tomasky plays out the various permutations.
One of the women who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment received a payout of about $45,000 as part of her settlement, Politico reports, “significantly more than the two or three months’ salary Cain initially recalled the woman obtained.”
“The woman who received the approximately $45,000 is the staffer who Cain has acknowledged formally lodged a complaint about his behavior.”
“It was also more than the payout a second association employee received after complaining about Cain’s behavior. According to the New York Times, the second womanreceived $35,000 — a year’s pay.”
Meanwhile, PJ Media claims to have details of another encounter with a staffer. Said a source: “Herman took advantage of seniority and power with a young woman. It was an abuse of power.”
60 Minutes is apparently doing a piece on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as correspondent Steve Croft showed up at a routine press conference today to ask her about a conflict of interest with her investments.
Ron Fournier: “Romney’s only hope of dodging the flip-flopping label is that journalists and their readers decide to give him a pass because his position shifts are old news. But they are not old news: That fact that Romney has an odds-on chance to become president in 2013 makes doubts about his core values more relevant than ever…”
“Less than a decade later, voters will soon ask themselves whether they want somebody like Romney in Washington. Somebody whose core beliefs are so hard to pin down.”
Mark Halperin: “Just the opposite. What is most potent about Romney’s campaign so far is its cleverly dispassionate anti-Obama formula, which goes something like this: ‘The President is a nice man with a nice family. He didn’t cause the economic mess, but his actions have made things worse. He’s clearly in over his head.’ That message worries many senior Democrats, who now believe Romney has made the tactical decision to take the high road and leave the gutter attacks to the incumbent.”
Mitt Romney “is biding his time and saving his campaign cash as he benefits from the missteps of his rivals,” Bloomberg reports.
At this point four years ago, Romney had spent $11 million on television advertising. Today, with the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary fast approaching, Romney has yet to spend a dime on commercials.
Washington Post: “Mitt Romney was firm and direct with the abortion rights advocates sitting in his office nine years ago, assuring the group that if elected Massachusetts governor, he would protect the state’s abortion laws. Then, as the meeting drew to a close, the businessman offered an intriguing suggestion — that he would rise to national prominence in the Republican Party as a victor in a liberal state and could use his influence to soften the GOP’s hard-line opposition to abortion. He would be a ‘good voice in the party’ for their cause, and his moderation on the issue would be ‘widely written about.'”
In a Fox News interview, Rick Perry mocked those who want to build a fence along the Mexican border.
Said Perry: “I think the idea of saying, ‘Listen, I’m gonna build a double fence, we’re going to put alligators between it, and we’re going to put lava in there, as well.’ You know, one tries to outdo the other one. That’s 2,000 miles. The idea of building a 2,000 mile fence costs a huge amount of money, takes a very long time.”
As Christian Heinze notes, it’s the same joke President Obama used earlier this year — and one that Perry himself criticized the president as someone “interested in trying out forSaturday Night Live, it seems like. He wants to play to what he considers to be the humorous side.”
“I’ve always thought, as a business man turned politician, that Herman Cain has the same problem I had in my first race back in ’98. To go directly from being a business man without substantial time in the government arena, both the vetting and the knowledge of it, is really hard — it’s virtually impossible. And that going directly to president seems to be a bridge too far.”
— Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), in an interview with David Gregory.
As President Obama’s re-election team “begins in earnest to attack Mitt Romney, Obama faces one of the most difficult tests of his political career: to tear down Romney without getting a single smudge of dirt on his own shirtfront — a trick he has performed deftly in previous races,” Politico reports.
“The early salvos are also familiar moves in a strategy that has worked in each of the four federal campaigns Obama has run: disqualifying character attacks from aides or outsiders, executed brutally as Obama himself floats above the fray.”
Larry Sabato: “The lesson of history is clear, as our quick-take chart shows: From 1976 to 2008, there has been a major surprise every time either in Iowa or New Hampshire. A back-of-the-pack candidate greatly exceeds expectations. Or the frontrunner stumbles. Or the field is scrambled in some other way.”
Herman Cain lashed out at Rick Perry, “accusing the Texas governor’s campaign of orchestrating the original report about allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior,”Politico reports.
Said Cain: “We’ve been able to trace it back to the Perry campaign that stirred this up in order to discredit me. The fingerprints of the Rick Perry campaign are all over this, based on our sources.”
First Read: “But the blame game only works for a short period of time. What ultimately matters is the story — not who leaked it. Indeed, here’s what NBC News has known since Monday: Two women accused Cain of inappropriate sexual conduct, and at least one woman received a financial settlement because of it. Over the course of three days, Cain has tried to deflect blame, but hasn’t been able prove all the allegations as false. He’s complaining that he’s being treated as if he’s ‘guilty until proven innocent’… The problem for him is that while he’s been deflecting blame, he’s also evolved his explanation so much that it’s confirmed some of the charges, making his denials on all of them harder to believe.”
The Federal Reserve “significantly reduced its forecast of economic growth through 2013, acknowledging that it had once again overestimated the nation’s recovery from the 2008 financial crisis,” the New York Times reports.
Nate Silver develops a forecasting model for the 2012 presidential election and runs the numbers:
“Average these four scenarios together and the probabilities come out to almost exactly 50-50. A month or two ago, when Perry and Romney appeared about equally likely to be the Republican nominee, it would therefore have been proper to think of the election as a toss-up.”
“With Perry having slumped in the polls, however, and Romney the more likely nominee, the odds tilt slightly toward Obama joining the list of one-termers. It is early, and almost no matter what, the election will be a losable one for Republicans. But Obama’s position is tenuous enough that it might not be a winnable one for him.”Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics