Herman Cain’s schedule Thursday included some last-minute changes when he skipped an appointment with the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Cain has not shied away from campaign or media appearances – he attended a rally in New Hampshire instead of the editorial board. And he plans to appear on CBS’ “The Late Show With David Letterman” Friday. Cain appeared on ABC”s Jimmy Kimmel Live! even on the same day a woman publicly accused him of sexually harassing her in the 1990s.
But Cain has increasingly shied away from the press, avoiding reporters after campaign stops, and after an uncomfortable silence and odd answer to a question about Libya during an editorial board meeting with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Cain’s campaign then asked the New Hampshire Union Leader not to record on video his upcoming editorial board meeting with that paper. CSPAN has taped and aired Union Leader editorial board meetings with Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
The interview with Cain had been scheduled for a week, but a report in the Union Leader Thursdaymentioned Cain’s reticence to be videotaped. Later, Cain and the board disagreed on how long the meeting should last – an hour, as the paper requested, or the 20 minutes the Cain campaign wanted.
“[Union Leader] Publisher Joseph McQuaid rejected the suggestion, telling the campaign that if Cain could not appear for the full 60 minutes, then there would be no interview,” according to a report from Union Leader political reporter John DiStaso. “McQuaid said today that 20 minutes was not enough time for a “formal, sit-down interview” during which he and other newspaper staff “size up” the candidates.”
Cain presented a different version of events at his campaign event in New Hampshire, where he gave a very animated version of his stump speech, openly mocking the media for coverage of his Libya pause and sexual harassment allegations, which he called “crap”.
As for the Union Leader kerfuffle, Cain said, “You’re not gonna believe this, but they canceled.”
Cain’s New Hampshire State director Charlie Spano, asked about the impact that skipping the Union Leader meeting would have in New Hampshire, said, “We organize people on a grassroots level to do grassroots outreach.”
Outside the crush of reporters during a press conference and without the glare of a formal TV interview, videotaped editorial boards have caused some uncomfortable moments for other candidates this year too.
Front-runner Mitt Romney, who has undergone policy evolutions on a number of key issues, including abortion rights and health care, raised some eyebrows when he told a New Hampshire editorial board that he had been “as consistent as human beings can be.”
During a sit-down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Oct. 18, Romney was asked what he would do for the housing industry.
Romney responded, “The things that you can do to encourage housing. One is don’t try to stop the foreclosure process and let it hit bottom. Allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up. The Obama administration has slow walked the foreclosure process.”
Obama’s campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt then blasted out a statement: “”Mitt Romney’s message to Nevada homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage bills is simple: You’re on your own, so step aside. Instead of offering an opportunity, like President Obama has, for responsible homeowners who were scammed by their lender or trapped by falling housing prices to refinance, Gov. Romney believes we should instead let the foreclosure process ‘run its course and hit the bottom’ so that investors can come in and make a quick buck after families lose their homes. This is just one more indication that while he will bend over backward to preserve tax breaks for large corporations and tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, Mitt Romney won’t lift a finger to restore economic security for the middle class.”
ABC New’s Emily Friedman contributed to this report.