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GOP frontrunner faces questions over sexual harassment allegations

Herman Cain faces the biggest test of his insurgent campaign with old allegations of sexual harassment resurfacing and causing a media storm in the US.

Herman Cain wipes his forehead before answering questions at the National Press Club in Washington yesterday.
Herman Cain wipes his forehead before answering questions at the National Press Club in Washington yesterday.
Image: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/Press Association Images

THE SURPRISE FRONTRUNNER in the race for the Republican party nomination for US president has denied any wrongdoing amid a storm over sexual harassment allegations in the 1990s that have re-emerged.

Herman Cain is facing the biggest test of his campaign after Politico broke the story on Sunday alleging that the former Godfather’s Pizza chairman had harassed two women whilst he was chief of the National Restaurant Association.

The incidents were said to have included “conversations allegedly filled with innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature” which led to the women being given financial settlements.

Cain at first denied this at a press conference in Washington saying that there had been an allegation but that it was false, adding that he had never sexually harassed anyone in his 40 years of business, according to Reuters.

Later he went on Fox News where he admitted there may have been “some sort of settlement or termination” whilst maintaining he had never sexually harassed anyone.

The differing explanations and inconsistencies in his story made yesterday’s events “an exercise in damage control” the New York Times says adding that it made it difficult to determine what the impact will be on his insurgent campaign with the first caucuses in which voters have their say two months away.

Cain’s campaign has been a revelation in recent weeks.

He topped a recent poll in the crucial early caucus state of Iowa, and even topped a poll in Texas ahead of the state’s governor Rick Perry who is also running for the nomination.

He is notable for his straight-talking on the campaign trail and his radical ’9-9-9′ tax plan which proposes a 9 per cent corporate tax rate, a 9 per cent national sales tax, and a 9 per cent income tax while a bizarre TV ad featuring his campaign manager smoking has become a viral sensation.

AP reports that conservatives have rallied around Cain, convinced by his argument that he is a victim of the media and liberals. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter said it was “outrageous the way liberals treat a black conservative”.

Read: Is this the strangest political campaign ad ever?

Read: Romney and Perry clash in fiercest Republican presidential debate so far >


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Hugh O'Connell

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