DES MOINES — Herman Cain’s campaign has a message for everyone who’s fixated on the unfolding allegations of sexual harassment against their candidate: Look the other way.
And this morning they’re hoping to get folks looking in the direction of Iowa, a state that Cain has visited only sporadically in recent months. The campaign today announced what it is calling the “Iowa Fund.”
The goal: to raise $999,000 for Cain’s efforts in the Hawkeye State between now and Nov. 9 in order to “hire additional staff in Iowa, place TV ads, and spread Mr. Cain’s ideas,” according to a statement from the campaign. Team Cain is also going on the air with an Iowa radio ad featuring a former president of the American Farm Bureau.
Not only that, but on a day when a third woman came forward to say that Cain made sexually suggestive comments to her, the campaign boasted that it had raised nearly $1 million during the first two days of the scandal.
“Cain supporters showed an increased commitment to Mr. Cain by providing him a second consecutive record-breaking fundraising day on Tuesday, Nov. 1, surpassing Monday’s new record,” read a statement from the campaign last night.
But as country singer Tanya Tucker once crooned, “It’s a little too late to do the right thing now.” And if Iowa is so important to Cain, why is he still in Washington, DC? Cain’s last trip to Iowa was on Oct. 22 and before that, the last time he was in the early caucus state was in mid-August.
Representatives from the campaign did not return ABC’s request for comment about when Cain would be returning to the state given their renewed focus on it this morning, but his campaign staff on the ground here say the recent scandal has helped bolster Cain’s volunteer troops here.
Meanwhile, the Cain story continues to develop:
– As we noted above, a third accuser emerged yesterday but she, like at least one of the other women, is refusing to go public. According to the Associated Press, the woman “considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she deemed aggressive and unwanted behavior … She said the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.”
– Prominent Iowa radio host Steve Deace repeated claims of “awkward” and “inappropriate” behavior on Cain’s part directed at two of his female staffers, but declined to offer specifics. (Though he lashed out at Cain for what he said were moral and policy failings.)
–Last night, the Cain campaign took aim at the Rick Perry campaign for allegedly being the source of the initial rumors — a sign that they are really struggling to get control of this narrative. Meanwhile, the Perry campaign said that the Mitt Romney campaign might actually be behind the leak that led to the news of harassment allegations against Cain during his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association.
BOTTOM LINE: Even though the dust has yet to settle, Mitt Romney may already be emerging as the biggest winner. Not just because the campaign of a major rival is spiraling out of control, but because he has been able to remain totally above the fray. The Perry campaign was dragged into this yesterday, but Romney gets to talk about the economy today in New Hampshire (although no one will be listening.)
The key question remains: Can a scandal that has not identified victims be enough to take down a frontrunner like Cain? Usually the answer is ‘no’ — you need a real live person in order to make the story stick — but Cain’s behavior has kept this story alive and will probably do so for the foreseeable future.
On “Good Morning America” today, ABC’s Jonathan Karl brings us up to date on the finger-pointing between the campaigns about the allegations against Cain. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/sczAzb
ONE CAIN ACCUSER WON’T GO PUBLIC. “One of the women who GOP frontrunner Herman Cain said made a false accusation of sexual harassment against him has decided not to go public. Lawyer Joel Bennett said the Maryland woman, who now works for the federal government, has decided not to make a public statement to challenge Cain’s version of what happened when they worked together at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s,” ABC’s Brian Ross, Mathew Mosk and Matthew Cole report. “Bennett said that while the woman wants to restore her reputation, she does not want to become another Anita Hill and let the controversy take over her life. Hill’s accusations of inappropriate sexual statements by now Supreme Court Clarence Thomas surfaced in 1991 as Congress was preparing to confirm his nomination to the Supreme Court.” http://abcn.ws/vE4Urs
ABC’s Brian Ross has more on why the accuser won’t be coming forward with her story. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/uomXnj
PERRY CAMPAIGN DENIES LEAKING STORY. From ABC’s Arlette Saenz: Texas Gov. Rick Perry Wednesday night denied any knowledge of leaked information about sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain, while the accused source of the leak said he ”would never speak ill” of Cain. “We found out about these allegations at the same time as I suppose everybody else did, read about them online and our campaign had absolutely nothing to do with it,” Perry said in an interview with Erick Erickson of news blog RedState. “You know, I’m disappointed that there’s finger pointing going on. And the sooner we get back to talking about the issues that are important to the people of this country, the better and that’s how do we get Americans working again.” Mark Block, Cain’s campaign manager, accused Perry of leaking the allegations, which were first reported by Politico, and demanded the Texas governor apologize to Cain and his family. “Rick Perry and his campaign owe Herman Cain and his family an apology,” Block said. “Quite frankly, this is one of the actions in America that is the reason people don’t get into politics.” http://abcn.ws/shsKeo
IOWA RADIO HOST CALLS CAIN ‘COMPROMISED IN HIS PRIVATE LIFE’ A conservative Iowa radio host, who on Wednesday became the latest person to accuse Herman Cain of acting inappropriately toward women, declined to offer specifics about the presidential candidate’s behavior but suggested that Cain was “compromised in his private life.” Steve Deace, who hosts a syndicated two-hour radio program in Iowa, said that two of his female staff members were subjected to “inappropriate and awkward” comments by Cain. But he refused to identify them or elaborate on the seriousness of the allegations. After his show on Wednesday night, Deace held an impromptu press conference outside his Des Moines studio while his two female staff members rushed out of the building, escorted by two men who attempted to keep reporters away. One of the women was identified to ABC News by an independent source as a victim of the behavior Deace mentioned. Both of the women repeatedly refused to comment on anything related to the controversy. Deace, an influential conservative figure in the state, declined to say whether he had the women’s consent before going public with the allegations, but added, “As a staff we are very tight and we are very close and we share everything with one another.” http://abcn.ws/sA01ry
ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”: Today “Top Line” focuses on women — the challenges they face increasing (and simply maintaining) their numbers in Congress, and the barrage of negative attention women get in the media. ABC’s Jonathan Karl and Devin Dwyer speak with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wa. as well as Jennifer Newsom, director of “Miss Representation” a film that “explores how the media’s misrepresentation of women has led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.” Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. http://abcn.ws/toplineliveabc
ROMNEY TO UNVEIL NEW LINE OF ATTACK ON PERRY. “Rick Perry will face a new round of criticism Thursday from Mitt Romney, who will stress a simple economic message to the Texas governor that ‘deficits matter,’” ABC’s Arlette Saenz reports. “Romney’s new line of attack comes days after Perry suggested he is less concerned about how his economic plan will affect the federal deficit in the short term and more focused on creating incentives for job creators to spur hiring in the country. ‘I’m less worried about whether or not we’ve got some budget holes to fill in the early years than I am getting the confidence of the job creators that they can actually go out and risk their capital and have a chance to have a return on their investment and create jobs’ Perry told the New Hampshire Union Leader in an interview Friday.” http://abcn.ws/rUARxL
CAIN ON CHINA COMMENTS: ‘MAYBE I MISSPOKE.’ ABC’s Jonathan Karl notes: In an interview with Ginni Thomas (Clarence Thomas’s wife) on the Daily Caller website, Herman Cain acknowledges that “maybe I misspoke” when he suggested in an interview this week that China does not have “a nuclear capability.” “Maybe I misspoke,” Cain said. “What I meant was – China does not have the size of the nuclear capability that we have. They do have a nuclear capability. They do have a nuclear capability. I was talking about their total nuclear capability. So that is what I meant by that.” Cain’s initial comments on China came in interview Monday with Judy Woodruff on PBS. “Yes, they’re a military threat,” Cain told Woodruff on Monday. “They’ve indicated that they’re trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have. So yes, we have to consider them a military threat.” China has had nuclear weapons since 1964. WATCH: http://thedc.com/tb40dD
NON-PROFIT GROUP WITH LINKS TO CAIN UNDER SCRUTINY. “An outside lawyer will review allegations that Herman Cain’s presidential campaign accepted tens of thousands of dollars in goods and services from a tax-exempt organization founded by his chief of staff, a spokesman for the candidate said Wednesday,” The New York Times’ Nicholas Confessore notes. “The group, Prosperity USA, appears to have paid for plane tickets, chartered planes and computer equipment for Friends of Herman Cain, Mr. Cain’s presidential committee, raising the prospect of serious violations of tax and election laws by both Mr. Cain’s campaign and the organization. The internal documents showing the expenses were first obtained by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. ‘As with any suggestions of this type,’ said J. D. Gordon, Mr. Cain’s spokesman, ‘we have asked outside counsel to investigate The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s suggestions and may comment, if appropriate, when that review is completed.’” Mr. Gordon did not identify the individual or firm that would conduct the review, or say when it would be complete.” http://nyti.ms/rrjF3O
WHY FLORIDA IS CRUCIAL IN 2012. ABC’s Matthew Jaffe explains: “With all the talk about the importance of Iowa and New Hampshire in the Republican primary, it is easy to forget that the one state that could settle the GOP fight once and for all is actually Florida. The Sunshine State is set to vote fourth in the primary, starting in late January after Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have each had their turn. If a candidate has run the table up to that point, Florida Republicans could provide the final push in crowning the nominee. If no one candidate has taken the first three states, then the victor in Florida would hold all the momentum heading into February. ‘All signs point to Florida being absolutely decisive for the Republican primary. It is the state that is most representative of the country and helped John McCain secure the GOP nomination in 2008,’ said Carlos Curbelo, a Republican strategist in Florida who has worked on campaigns in the past and currently advises Rick Perry’s bid. To gauge the importance of Florida, consider that the state hosted not one but two GOP debates in September, that it will be the site of the party’s 2012 convention in Tampa, and that it will host the final presidential debate next year, set for Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton.” http://abcn.ws/sripFp
OBAMA CAMPAIGN CULTIVATING HIGH-TECH DONORS. “The high technology Internet industry and trial lawyers are helping President Barack Obama avoid a potential fundraising liability caused in part by a drop in support from his biggest 2008 industry backer: Wall Street,” Bloomberg’s Jonathan D. Salant reports. “Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) employees rank first among Obama’s business givers, taking the spot investors at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) held in the 2008 presidential cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group. Obama, 50, is exceeding his record fundraising pace of four years ago, even though he started later this time around. He reported raising $88 million through Sept. 30, up from $80 million in 2007. That is more than twice the amount of money raised by the leading Republican presidential fundraiser, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Romney reported $33 million in donations, some of it from Wall Street donors who once backed Obama…. To reach out to high-tech employees, the campaign has started “Technology for Obama,” an on-line-based organization that is similar to those used by the campaign to reach out to such constituencies as women and Latinos.” http://bloom.bg/sRfamT
NOTABLE: Obama Targets Student Vote in Campaign’s First Major Public Event. ABC’s Devin Dwyer reports: http://abcn.ws/vA7Dbv
OBAMA AT G20. “With all eyes on the Eurozone crisis, President Obama said this morning that the most important task for world leaders gathered at the G-20 summit in France is to “resolve the financial crisis here in Europe,’” ABC’s Mary Bruce reports from Cannes, France. “Speaking with French President Nicolas Sarkozy after their bilateral meeting, Obama urged European leaders to act on the debt deal to which they agreed last week. ‘Here at the G-20, we’re going to have to flesh out more of the details about how the plan will be fully and decisively implemented,’ he said. At a separate meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama explained further ‘we are now, having seen some progress, looking forward to working together to figure out how we can implement this in an effective way to make sure that not only is the Eurozone stable, but the world financial system is stable as well.’” http://abcn.ws/sCmg8T
* Herman Cain will be on O’Reilly Radio in Washington DC in the afternoon.
* Rick Perry will take a plant tour and host an employee town hall at Pioneer Hi-Bred in Johnston, Iowa.
* Mitt Romney will be discussing fiscal policy during a town hall in Exeter, New Hampshire.
* Jon Huntsman will be in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina where he will address the state’s GOP during a “First InThe South” breakfast.
* Rick Santorum will continue campaigning in Iowa. He will begin the day with an address to the Ames Conservative Breakfast Club, followed by another speech to the Lions Club in Des Moines. Later in the evening, Santorum will speak at the Dallas County GOP Chili Supper in Adel.
* Michele Bachmann will also be in Iowa. She will make an economic policy address at Iowa State University in the afternoon, followed by a speech to the Dallas County GOP in Adel.
* Newt Gingrich will be calling in to conservative radio talk show host Joe Pagliarulo’s show.
Check out The Note’s Futures Calendar: http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV
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