Mitt Romney today for the first time characterized sexual harassment allegations facing fellow GOP candidate Herman Cain as “particularly disturbing.”
“These are serious allegations, George,” said Romney in an exclusive interview with George Stephanopoulos that aired on ABC News and Yahoo. ”And they’re going to have to be addressed seriously. I don’t have any counsel for Herman Cain or for his campaign, they have to take their own counsel on this.”
“Any time there is an accuser that comes forward with charges of this nature you recognize this is a very serious matter and it should be taken seriously,” said Romney.
Yesterday Sharon Bialek became the first woman to go public with her accusations against Cain. Standing with her attorney, Gloria Allred, Bialek alleged that during the summer of 1997 Cain sexually harassed her in his car, touching her leg and pushing her head towards his crotch.
The Cain campaign accused her of lying, and asked if Bialek was paid or promised a job if she spoke out. Romney declined to say whether he believed Cain might be “disqualified” should the accusations be proven true.
“I don’t want to suppose truth or lack of truth I just think it’s important to recognize that a number of women have come forward with concerns; this woman’s charges are particularly disturbing and they’re serious.”
Romney was also asked about remarks suggesting that he “has no core,” to which he responded, “You know, I understand that politics is politics, people look for some edge they can get. But– but people know how I’ve lived my life and what I believe on the major issues of the day.”
“You know, I’ll– I’ll let the slings and arrows come, as they may. And continue talking about the failure of this presidency,” said Romney. ”And I know, of course, the last thing the president wants to do and his team wants to do is to talk about their record. But I’ll keep bringing it back to it. They failed.”
Ahead of tomorrow night’s debate outside of Detroit, Romney defended his remarks on auto companies and the government bailout.
“I wrote an article and said, ‘These companies, don’t write them a check. They’ve come to Washington asking for money. Don’t write them a check,” said Romney, referring to an article he wrote in 2008 for the New York Times. “Have them go through managed bankruptcy. And then after that process, if they need help. If they need help, for instance, guaranteeing the warranties of people who bought their cars, then the government can step in and provide that help. But don’t just write a check off the bat.”
“It turned out that I was right,” continued Romney. “They finally followed that advice. And the industry is back on its feet.”
Asked if that was his way of complimenting Obama for his actions regarding the auto companies, Romney said disagreed.
“What President Obama and President Bush did was to write a check first. Billions and billions of dollars was written to bail out the industry. And then they realized that that was not the answer. I was, frankly, right. They had to go through managed bankruptcy,” he said. “And by the way, the fact they went through bankruptcy and President Obama had them go through bankruptcy and get restructured is exactly what I said had to happen in that op-ed. And the support that came afterwards was appropriate.”
In a more light-hearted rapid fire round of questions, Romney let his sense of humor shine, laughing as he was asked what the worst job he’s ever had was.
“Bailing hay at the ranch I worked on. I’m allergic to hay,” said Romney.
Romney’s wife, Ann, sat off camera during the interview, and was smiling as her husband admitted his allergy. The two entered the interview, held in downtown Chicago, hand in hand.
Romney said his guilty pleasure on television is ABC’s “Modern Family,” and that his favorite junk food is “good pretzels” and “peanut M&Ms.” If he had a theme song Romney said it would probably be “On the Road Again.”
And his choice of actor to play him in a movie? “Gene Hackman,” said Romney, not missing a beat. “He’s my favorite actor.”