According to this report, Mr. Cain has said that
he knows just where to look for the guy who did it: At 815 Slaters Lane in Alexandria, Virginia, a low-slung former warehouse in the shadow of a coal plant.
There, beside rusting rail lines, is the home of OnMessage Inc., a Republican-leaning consulting firm recently hired to bolster Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign.
One of the firm’s partners, Curt Anderson, worked on Cain’s losing 2004 U.S. Senate campaign. Cain thinks he’s the hired political gun who leaked details to Politico, a Washington trade publication, of alleged “sexually suggestive behavior” Cain is said to have exhibited towards two women while he ran the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. That story set off a media frenzy which has quickly put Cain’s campaign on the defense.
In the summer of 2003, Cain recalls briefing Anderson—his general campaign consultant at the time—that sexual harassment claims were brought against him while he was chairman of the National Restaurant Association from 1996 to 1999.
“I told my wife about this in 1999 and I’ve got nothing to hide,” Cain told me Wednesday. “When I sat down with my general campaign consultant Curt Anderson in a private room in our campaign offices in 2003 we discussed opposition research on me. It was a typical campaign conversation. I told him that there was only one case, one set of charges, one woman while I was at the National Restaurant Association. Those charges were baseless, but I thought he needed to know about them. I don’t recall anyone else being in the room when I told him.”
Anderson failed to respond to emails and phone calls to his office. A spokesman for the Perry campaign said they would issue a statement shortly. I’ll update the post when it comes.
Aside from knowing about the alleged sexual harassment accusations, Cain campaign officials point to the timing of Anderson’s hiring by Perry as evidence of his involvement. The campaign announced Anderson’s role on October 24, just a week before Politico broke the story.
Update (Bryan): This seems related — Erick Erickson is hearing that Cain’s planning to push blame for this story onto the Perry campaign. But if the above evidence is the strongest piece they have, it’s pretty weak. In politics, just about everybody has some kind of connection to everybody else. If there is nothing more, then Cain may be smearing Perry for a second time. And it puts Cain again in the position of suddenly remembering more than he remembered on Monday when the story first took off.
Update (Bryan): Perry’s spokesman, Ray Sullivan, is on the record that their campaign had nothing to do with it.
Curt Anderson phoned me to say “I never heard about this story until I read about it in Politico. I have nothing but good things to say about Herman Cain. I’m not going to bad-mouth Herman Cain to anyone, on or off the record. I think he is a guy of great leadership and integrity.”
Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan said it was “patently untrue” that the Perry campaign had any role in placing the sexual harassment story with Politico.