Herman Cain, the Republican presidential candidate, who has been leading the polls for quite a while now, was attacked by a bombshell of sexual harassment case reported by the Politico in which two of his former female employees complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain in the 1990s.
As expected, Cain's campaign has called the allegations unsubstantiated personal attacks.
According to Politico, the complainants alleged that Cain's sexually suggestive behavior, during his tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, made them angry and uncomfortable.
The women were forced to sign agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures, said the report.
The Politico exclusive is remarkable, given the timing of its publishing, which closely followed the summer poll in mid-October in which Cain was leading the race for Republican Presidential nomination.
Cain, who had not held elective office before, was well behind former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and, later, Texas Governor Rick Perry until the recent poll.
The new report holds enough power to severely damage Cain's prospects to win the Republican nomination to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.
Politico has chose not to name the women in the report and maintained that the story was based on multiple sources.
Fearing the message of Herman Cain who is shaking up the political landscape in Washington, Inside-the-Beltway media have begun to launch unsubstantiated personal attacks on Cain, his campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon said in a statement emailed to the media.
Dredging up thinly sourced allegations stemming from Mr. Cain's tenure as the Chief Executive Officer at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, political trade press are now casting aspersions on his character and spreading rumors that never stood up to the facts.
Though Cain's campaign has denied the allegations, according to Politico, Cain's spokesman J.D. Gordon said that the candidate indicated to campaign officials that he was vaguely familiar with the charges and that the restaurant association's general counsel had resolved the matter.
The moot question here is: What exactly does vaguely familiar mean?
According to Politico, Cain said he has had thousands of people working for me at different businesses over the years and could not comment until I see some facts or some concrete evidence. And when he was provided with the name of one woman who complained last week, Cain said, I am not going to comment on that.
Cain was asked thrice by a reporter whether he was ever accused of sexual harassment by a woman, to which he responded by repeating the same question to the reporter: Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?
The allegations against Cain and his response hold a strong resemblance to the Anthony Weiner Sexting Scandal.
Initially Weiner indicated that he was a victim of hacking but later he admitted he could not say with certitude that the sexually explicit photo he sent over Twitter to a woman was not of him. He suggested that the image might be doctored, saying, maybe it did start being a photo of mine and now looks something different or maybe it is from another account.
In Cain's case, his denial seems to lack the assertive quality expected of him in a politically damaging scenario such as this, if it actually were baseless.