The PJ Tatler

Herman Cain is Back to Blaming Perry Again

And, again, without a shred of evidence. The Hermanator’s armor against irony is made of titanium.

That’s from Sean Hannity’s radio show earlier today.

Cain seems to be blaming Richard Miniter of Forbes, who wrote the widely linked piece that first brought Curt Anderson’s name into the story. But Miniter later wrote that Anderson denied being the source, and that the Perry camp denied it too. Perry himself denied it strongly. Earlier today, Mark Block backed off the accusation/smear of Anderson when he was confronted with Anderson’s denial on Fox today. Not a good day to be Mark Block.

In the clip above, Cain also blasts Anderson for  — not making this up — not knowing about Cain’s past harassment settlements, if he didn’t know about them, so he could draft a response for Cain’s Senate campaign.

Do I have to spell out the problem with this particular line of attack? How about the fact that Cain’s current campaign manager, Mark Block, evidently didn’t draft a response to Cain’s past harassment settlements for Cain’s current presidential campaign. Will Block soon find himself under the Cain Train?

It’s very evident that Herman Cain and Mark Block are on the same team, but are not on the same page.

Let’s go back to Miniter’s original piece. Here’s what it said.

Cain Says Perry Camp Behind Sex Harassment Leak

Was the recent attack on Herman Cain’s presidential campaign a professional hit job? Absolutely, says Herman Cain. And he says 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.

And so forth and so on. Either Cain accused Anderson without any facts, or leaped to the conclusion when Miniter brought it up. Neither convicts Anderson, but both say a lot about Cain.

Anyway, let’s toss another character into all this. Fred Thompson recalls a dirty trick that hit him during the 2007/2008 election. Fred! has reason to suspect who was behind that, and it wasn’t Perry.

Days after I got into the presidential race in 2007, I was greeted with a website, “PhoneyFred.org,” described in the media at the time as an “anti Fred Thompson smear site.” You couldn’t really tell who was behind it, but we learned of it from the Democratic National Committee, which made ample use of it. We assumed that they had created it. However, a reporter at the Washington Post (of all people) decided to find out who was behind the site. After a lot of effort, she traced it to an executive of TTS Strategies, a South Carolina consulting firm run by J. Warren Tompkins, one of the most notorious hardball political operatives in the country.

Politicians of opposing campaigns were known to get the “Warren Treatment.” He ran Bush’s 1980 campaign, in which anonymous flyers and telephone calls accused John McCain of fathering an illegitimate black child.

In 2007, he was running Mitt Romney’s campaign in South Carolina, where Mitt was behind the rest of us in the polls. Of course, when confronted, both Tompkins and Mitt were “shocked” to learn that a rogue employee (who ran Tompkins’s office) was running such a website (out of the office), and the site was taken down immediately. One of the more benign and amusing things the site accused me of was being a “flip flopper.” I kid you not.

This doesn’t mean that Mitt is behind the Herman Cain hit piece. I’d like to think that he — and his extensive staff, many of them with training in the “political dark arts” — has learned that when you hire the meanest dog in the junkyard, it’s a little difficult to claim that you are surprised when he bites.

From here, I’d like to take a second and refer back to my own conclusion on an earlier post about this whole Cain saga.

Unless there’s another shoe to drop or Cain’s camp badly mishandles the next couple of days, Politico’s story probably ends up helping Herman Cain a little bit with the base. He appears to be yet another victim of a mainstream media hit, and the base loathes the MSM. Politico has tossed out the allegation, gotten Cain to respond and knocked his campaign off track, and now they will roll out anything they have that damages his response. If they don’t have anything, Cain will be fine.

They still don’t have very much, but Cain isn’t fine because of his own actions. Sure, he’s leading in the polls and raising tons of money at the moment, but the week has been such a whipsaw that its detail really hasn’t sunk in with the voters yet. Folks want to believe that Cain is David fighting the liberal media Goliath, but the truth is a whole lot murkier than that. He didn’t remember any settlements, but it turns out there were two (neither was very large, though). The first accuser may get a statement out tomorrow, which will change the game again. And when Perry faced a media hit over a rock out in West Texas, Cain surrendered his claim to fairness now by not being fair to Perry then.

The most important detail isn’t even who did what when at this point, it’s just how badly Cain & co. have blown the week with obvious dissembling and lame attempts to distract. The Cain Train became a clown car. He was supposed to be rolling out new details on 9-9-9 and getting ready to debate Newt Gingrich in Texas on Saturday. Instead, he’s been flailing around blaming Rick Perry, Curt Anderson and Rich Miniter and not getting ready to debate the smartest man in the room. For a man who can’t even answer abortion questions without screwing it up, that’s a waste of a week.

By the way, I’ll be at the debate on Saturday. And also by the way, why hasn’t Cain blamed Gingrich? That’s who stands to benefit most directly from Cain’s weird week, both in the lack of debate prep and in the fact that Gingrich is currently in the best position to scoop up voters who may defect from Cain.

(h/t Hot Air)