Is there another shoe? If so, how big? And how hard might it come down on Herman Cain, who so far, has managed to deflect — albeit awkwardly — the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around him this week?
At least one of his female accusers from his days at the National Restaurant Association is eager to talk, according to multiple news reports, but it’s now just a question of whether the lawyers and the association will let this happen. http://abcn.ws/upWYhv
“She’s been very upset about this since the story broke last Sunday because Mr. Cain has been giving the impression she came out and made false allegations,” Joel Bennett, the lawyer for one of Cain’s accusers said in an interview on CNN last night. “That’s certainly not true and she’s still deciding once we hear from the Restaurant Association what she’ll do — if they’ll waive the confidentiality. Until they do that, she’s not going to speak out.”
In his own television interview late yesterday on Fox News, Cain declined to say whether he would ask the Restaurant Association to waive the confidentiality agreement.
“I can’t answer that now because there are legal implications. If the restaurant association waves that — I just found out about this today — there are legal implications associated with that I am not totally familiar with yet,” he told Fox Brett Baier. “So, I can’t give you a definitive answer on that until we consult with our attorneys and talk with some others.”
Cain has been trying to explain away his evolving recollections of what happened, acknowledging last night that he should have been “better prepared” to answer the barrage of questions about the incident with the woman whose lawyer says she now wants to speak out.
But with each passing day new details are emerging. As the New York Times reports today: “Four people with contemporaneous knowledge of the encounter said it had taken place in the context of a work outing during which there had been heavy drinking — a hallmark, they said, of outings with an organization that represents the hospitality industry.” http://nyti.ms/u4pElZ
And complicating matters further, it’s not just Cain who’s having issues. Cain’s campaign manager Mark Block has legal questions of his own to answer.As Slate’s Dave Weigel points out, Block has been refusing to say whether a non-profit group formed by him and his deputy was improperly “spending money on Cain’s nascent campaign.”
“We’ve retained independent counsel to look,” into the matter, Block said at a conference in Washington yesterday. http://slate.me/vES5gl
On “Good Morning America” today, ABC’s Jonathan Karl rounded up the latest developments in the controversy surrounding Herman Cain
PRO-OBAMA SUPER PAC ATTACKS ROMNEY. ABC’s Amy Walter reports: Priorities USA Action, a super PAC organized by two former aides to President Obama, released a video this morning arguing that under a Mitt Romney presidency, America would become a place where “Wall Street is unregulated,” the “middle class is decimated” and “American jobs are relocated.” It’s also the latest sign that Democrats are convinced Romney will be the GOP nominee and are eager to set up the contrasts between the two candidates as quickly as possible. The longer this race is a referendum on Obama instead of a choice between two candidates, the tougher it is for Obama to win re-election. An official with the group, which was organized by Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney, told ABC News that the goal of the ad is to “define the contours of the race” and “inform people about Mitt Romney’s America.” The official also told ABC News that the video is part of a $100,000 campaign targeting social media outlets such as Facebook, Google, YouTube and online news sites. http://abcn.ws/tYid9y
NEW POLL SHOWS OBAMA APPROVAL RATING BUMP. According to a new Quinnipiac University Poll, President Obama’s approval rating is up “from a negative 41 – 55 percent October 5, to a split today with 47 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving.” Additional good news for Obama: “Voters also are divided 47 – 49 percent on whether Obama deserves reelection, compared to last month, when voters said 54 – 42 percent he did not deserve reelection.” http://bit.ly/vrygJj
And here’s how the Republican field stacks up, according to the new numbers. Note that Newt Gingrich is on the rise.
Cain — 30%
Romney — 23%
Gingrich — 10%
Perry — 8%
Paul — 7%
Bachmann — 4%
Huntsman — 2%
Santorum — 1%
Don’t Know — 16 %
ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”: CONGRESSMAN CLYBURN. ABC’s Amy Walter interviews Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., a member of the Congressional Supercommittee. Also on the program, University of Pennsylvania political scientist Kathleen Hall Jamieson, who will talk about political ads during the 2012 presidential race, among other things. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern. http://abcn.ws/toplineliveabc
THE NOTE ON THE ROAD. DES MOINES, Iowa — The Note is in Iowa this week where several of the 2012 Republicans candidates are campaigning as the clock ticks down to this state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. Rick Perry held a town hall meeting in Des Moines yesterday, telling his audience that he wanted to “take a sledgehammer to Washington.”
“Some think we can fix Washington with a pair of tweezers, nibbling around the edges if you will,” Perry said at a town hall meeting here. “I happen to think we need to take a sledgehammer to it.” In the same speech, Perry found an even more destructive metaphor, saying that he wanted to “take a wrecking ball” to the Washington establishment. Perry, whose book “Fed Up!” lambasts the federal government for playing too large a role in people’s lives, launched a series of attacks on Congress, which he said was “out of control,” and the Internal Revenue Service. “The IRS has actually gone from a tax collection agency to a taxpayer harassment agency,” Perry said. “On top of the high taxes, Americans pay almost $400 billion to just file their taxes each year. The word, or I should say the phrase, ‘IRS audit’ may be the scariest phrase in American lexicon. The day my flat tax lets Americans file their taxes on a postcard is the day that we end the IRS as we know it.” http://abcn.ws/uUvTVv
PERRY GOES ON THE AIR IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. “With ads already airing in Iowa, Rick Perry will take his advertising campaign to another key early state: New Hampshire,” ABC’s Arlette Saenz reports. “Starting Wednesday, the campaign will air the ‘Doer’ ad in New Hampshire, the same ad running in Iowa, a spokesman for Perry told ABC News. The ad features Perry in a blue button-down shirt as he describes himself as ‘a doer not a talker.’ Perry started his advertising push in Iowa last week, with the release of the first TV spot touting his job creation record last Wednesday and the ‘Doer’ ad began airing on Monday.” http://abcn.ws/vch7w2
OBAMA CAMPAIGN’S PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE ON VOTER SUPPRESSION EFFORTS. “The Obama re-election campaign has quietly opened a counteroffensive against Republican-backed changes to election laws that Democrats say will suppress votes for their candidates and limit their get-out-the-vote drives,” the Wall Street Journal’s Carol E. Lee and Jonathan Weisman report. “The effort, led by former White House counsel Robert Bauer, prompted the suspension of an Ohio law limiting early voting. Campaign officials produced educational materials to counter a Wisconsin law that requires voters to produce photo I.D.s–but disallows those used by Wisconsin colleges. By this spring, the Obama re-election campaign will mount what Mr. Bauer called an unprecedented ‘voter protection’ effort, fielding thousands of volunteers in battleground states to help navigate new election laws, months earlier than past efforts. ‘We will look at what the state has done, look for ways to counter it, through litigation sometimes, through administrative interpretation sometimes. But beyond that, you have to have a program that actually goes out and shows voters what they need to do,’ a senior Obama campaign official said.” http://on.wsj.com/uqzXw3
DEFICIT HAWKS WARN OF CONSEQUENCES OF SUPERCOMMITTEE FAILURE. ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports from Capitol Hill: The four chairmen that headed two previous panels examining deficit reduction warned the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction of the consequences of failing to reach a bipartisan deal that saves at least $1.5 trillion over the next decade. Pete Domenici, Alan Simpson, Alice Rivlin and Erskine Bowles testified today before the so-called super committee to explain their previous attempts at reducing the deficit, and encouraged the exclusive committee to reach for a grand bargain slicing about $4 trillion from the federal deficit. Bowles, who along with Simpson was co-chair of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, said he believed “the American people will support [the committee] if you make these big, bold, smart decisions.” “Collectively, I’m worried you’re going to fail — fail the country,” Bowles, who also served as chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton, warned. “Our commission came up with a balanced plan of $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. We didn’t make the $4 trillion number up because the No. 4 bus rode down the street. $4 trillion is not the maximum amount we need to reduce the deficit. It’s not the ideal amount. It is the minimum amount we need to reduce the deficit in order to stabilize the debt.” http://abcn.ws/uImI4M
OCCUPY WALL STREETERS FOCUS ON IOWA CAUCUSES. “A group called Occupy Iowa is urging like-minded protesters from across the country to descend on the Iowa headquarters of the presidential candidates the week before the caucuses, which will be held Jan. 3,” The New York Times’ Kate Zernike reports. “The group invited Occupiers to Iowa in a series of Twitter posts early Tuesday: ‘From Oakland to Wall Street, let’s hit em hard,’ said one. Organizers said they plan to occupy the headquarters of President Barack Obama as well as those of the Republicans seeking their party’s nomination: ‘No party but the people’s party. No platform but the people’s platform,’ another post declared. ‘You go inside or if they won’t let you in, you shut ‘em down. You sit in front of their doors,’ Frank Cordaro, an organizer and former lawmaker in Des Moines, told the Des Moines Register.” http://nyti.ms/rUpCmi
* Herman Cain will spend the day in the Washington DC area, speaking about jobs and health care reform. Later in the day, Cain will meet with lawmakers at the Capitol Hill Club.
* Rick Santorum reaches a milestone on the campaign trail as he visits his 99 th county in Iowa, completing a goal of traveling to every county.
* Newt Gingrich will campaign in Duluth Georgia, speaking at a GOP Presidential Forum.
* Michelle Bachmann can be heard on Iowa radio station WHO in the morning and will hold a town-hall in Des Moines later in the day.
* Mitt Romney will attend a morning fundraiser in New York City, hosted by the owner of The New York Jets and a group of Wall Street financiers.
* Rick Perry has no public events, but plans to spend the day fundraising in California.
* Bill Gardner, the New Hampshire Secretary of State, will announce the date of the 2011 New Hampshire GOP Primary.
Check out The Note’s Futures Calendar: http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV
* Get The Note delivered to your inbox every day.
* For breaking political news and analysis check out The Note blog: http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/ and ABCNews.com/Politics: http://abcnews.com/politics