Amid snow-balling sexual harassment allegations, public disclosures by his accusers and a series of conflicting responses, Herman Cain has — so far — managed to withstand major political fallout from the scandal plaguing his campaign.
It looks like all of that may be about to change.
Though the pace of the new stories about it has dropped off, Gloria Allred, the lawyer for one of the accusers, plans to hold a press conference in Louisiana this afternoon with the former boyfriend of Sharon Bialek, who recently came forward with her story about Cain’s misconduct.
And voter discontent is beginning to sink in.
The New York Times’ Nate Silver noted ahead of this weekend’s debate in South Carolina that Cain’s numbers were “moving down slightly,” and a new Politico-George Washington University Battleground poll released today shows a similar slide. No, it’s not devastating for Cain, but these numbers are early indicators of erosion in support for the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO who has been running an unorthodox campaign.
And now Cain has enlisted an important surrogate in his campaign’s ongoing damage control effort: his elusive wife Gloria Cain, who until this week has remained out of the public’s gaze.
“You hear the graphic allegations and we know that would have been something that’s totally disrespectful of her as a woman,” Gloria Cain told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren in an interview that will air in its entirety tonight. “And I know the type of person he is. He totally respects women.”
After listening to the barrage of accusations about her husband, Mrs. Cain told Van Susteren, “I’m thinking he would have to have a split personality to do the things that were said.”
Meanwhile, Cain’s travel schedule is beginning to more closely resemble that of a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. On Tuesday he returns to Iowa for the first time since Oct. 22, and he will be there again on Saturday for a multi-candidate forum. In between he’s holding events and fundraisers in Florida.
But his campaign’s presence in some of these early states, including South Carolina, the site of Saturday night’s foreign policy-focused debate, has hardly been felt. One top Republican official in South Carolina told ABC News that Cain’s ground game effort there is virtually non-existent.
ABC’s John Berman weighed in on “Good Morning America” today about the Cain campaign decision to roll out Mrs. Cain to defend her husband. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/sBa8Ho
CAMPAIGN WARFARE. Mitt Romney’s campaign is out with a fresh Monday morning attack, but it’s not aimed at any of Romney’s rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, but rather on President Obama. “With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that President Obama and his Democrat allies are fixated more on Mitt Romney than on turning around our struggling economy,” Romney campaign spokesman said in a statement. “If the past is any guide, we expect this obsession will grow. A Romney Administration will be focused on reviving the economy and adding jobs, not consumed by campaign politics.” The campaign circulated a press releasing with news clips showing what they say is the Obama teams “obsession with attacking governor Romney.”
In response, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt tells the Note: “Mitt Romney is attempting to declare his record off limits — he wants no discussion of his time as a finance executive focused on investors’ profits with no regard to the impact for middle class families, his tenure as Governor when MA ranked 47th out of 50th in job creation, and he certainly doesn’t want a light to be shined on the litany of positions on key issues he has now changed on everything from climate change to troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
And at least one Republican campaign is still aiming right for Romney’s jugular. Team Huntsman is out with a new web video today, titled “Trade War,” contrasting Romney and Jon Huntsman’s views on China. “Mitt Romney has indicated that he would be willing to drive the U.S. further into recession by pandering on China for political advantage. Moreover, his proposed ‘solution’ is not possible and was widely panned by observers and international economic experts,” campaign spokesman Tim Miller said in a statement. WATCH: http://bit.ly/vB1Sgc
GABRIELLE GIFFORDS SITS DOWN WITH DIANE SAWYER. Months after the shooting in Tucson, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords still struggles for the right words to form sentences, a condition called aphasia that is common in brain injury patients. She has undergone months of intensive speech and physical therapy to try and rebuild the connections in her brain. It is that determination, along with Giffords’ own personal strength that shine through in exclusive home videos taken by Kelly and their family that will be seen for the first time as part of tonight’s Diane Sawyer special. In one video, taken a mere two and half weeks after the shooting, a once-talkative and enthusiastic Giffords is seen working with her speech therapist and Kelly to relearn how to speak and move. Hear Giffords’ own words on “Gabby and Mark: Courage and Hope,” a Diane Sawyer Exclusive on Monday, Nov. 14 at 10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. CT on ABC. http://abcn.ws/sTnWWO
Diane previewed her interview on “Good Morning America” today. WATCH: http://abcn.ws/sZtYB4
Giffords’ new memoir, “Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope” is out on book shelves tomorrow. http://amzn.to/uk9WyZ
ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”: SAM DONALDSON & FRANK LUNTZ. ABC’s Rick Klein and Jonathan Karl interview the long-time ABC News contributor Sam Donaldson and Republican pollster and political consultant Frank Luntz. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. http://abcn.ws/toplineliveabc
FEW HOPES FOR DEFICIT PANEL. “If the supercommittee is going to act, this is the week,” report Politico’s Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan. “That’s the narrative gripping Washington as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction sits less than 10 days before its statutory Nov. 23 deadline to report a plan to cut the nation’s burgeoning deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade. There are few signs of hope. Several aides involved in the process said ongoing bipartisan talks — which continued over the weekend in Washington and by telephone — have so far yielded few results. Intraparty fissures on both sides are breaking into the open. And there’s now open talk of putting off tough decisions on entitlements and tax reform and dismantling the sequester mandate to avoid the punishment Congress created for failure — a move that President Barack Obama said he opposes. ‘I don’t hold out a lot of hope,’ said a senior Democratic leadership aide, on the outlook for the House-Senate panel. ‘People are talking, but it’s not going anywhere.’” http://politi.co/tXhhdr
NOTED: OBAMA TO SUPERCOMMITTEE: ‘BITE THE BULLET’ President Obama urged lawmakers today to abandon their “rigid positions” and reach a consensus, warning there are no “magic beans” to solve the deficit problem, according to ABC News’ Mary Bruce. “My hope is that over the next several days, the congressional leadership on the supercommittee go ahead and bite the bullet and do what needs to be done because the math won’t change,” Obama told reporters at a press conference in Hawaii yesterday. ”There’s no magic formula. There are no magic beans that you can toss in the ground and suddenly a bunch of money grows on trees. We’ve got to just go ahead and do the responsible thing.” http://abcn.ws/vfdaph
PERRY’S REHAB CONTINUES: THE WEEK AHEAD. From ABC’s Arlette Saenz: Rick Perry travels from Austin, Tex. to Iowa today, marking his eighth trip to the Hawkeye State of the campaign. He will speak at the Scott County GOP Ronald Reagan Dinner in Bettendorf. As he tries to regain his footing after last Wednesday’s debate gaffe and capitalize on what his campaign characterized as a strong performance on Saturday night, Perry will spend a good portion of this week in the two of the most important early nominating states – Iowa and New Hampshire. In addition to tonight’s speech, he will deliver a policy speech on government reform in Iowa on Tuesday morning and host two town halls in New Hampshire Wednesday. At the end of the week, he hosts fundraisers and speaks in New York City before heading back to Iowa for the Family Leader Thanksgiving Forum.
THE NOTE’S MOVES: Mark Paustenbach: “I wanted to let folks know that I have joined Millstein & Co. LLC, an investment management and financial advisory firm established by Jim Millstein, the Treasury Department’s former Chief Restructuring Officer who led the turnaround of AIG. I am thrilled to work here in Washington for a widely respected executive like Jim, who was previously the Global Co-Head of Restructuring at Lazard.”
@ReincePriebus: A lot of polls out this morning, but most important number is Obama’s approval on the economy – just 35 percent.
@NicoHines: Santorum on Paterno: “Gut reaction is to take a football helmet and hit him over the head with it.”
@rchammond: It is a sad testament that the barista at Starbucks makes my coffe faster than TSA can check my ID.
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