Will GOP Debate Be Sidetracked by Herman Cain Sexual Harassment Allegations?

By Paulson, Amanda | The Christian Science Monitor, November 9, 2011 | Go to article overview

Will GOP Debate Be Sidetracked by Herman Cain Sexual Harassment Allegations?


Paulson, Amanda, The Christian Science Monitor


The Republican debate Wednesday is supposed to focus on the economy. It's likely, though, that Herman Cain's sexual assault allegations will dog him throughout the debate.

The Republican debate Wednesday is supposed to focus on the economy.

Against the Michigan backdrop of rapid foreclosures and 11.1 percent unemployment, it's an appropriate theme.

But it's also the first debate since the sexual-harassment scandal surrounding GOP candidate Herman Cain first emerged. And that's the issue sparking the most interest.

It's uncertain whether any debate questions will raise the the allegations directly (although it seems likely), but it's almost certain to come up. Especially now that Karen Kraushaar went public with her allegations Tuesday night, the second accuser to do so. 

Here are a few things to watch tonight:

How will Cain's fellow nominees react to his scandal?

This is the big question: Do they attack him directly, or give him the benefit of the doubt?

"There are costs to both," says Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "You tackle him, you're going to alienate his people ... If you say nothing, you're going to be the subject of a lot of criticism too ... It's heads you lose, tails you lose, but you have to pick heads or tails."

Already, some of the candidates have begun to address Mr. Cain's troubles in interviews and public statements.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Tuesday broached Sharon Bialek's allegations against Cain, though he declined to say whether he believed them.

"I don't want to suppose truth or lack of truth," he said in an interview on ABC. "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."

GOP candidate and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman also touched on the Cain scandal - and the distraction it's become for the Republican primary race - in an interview with the Associated Press. "Only Herman Cain can address the issues before him," Governor Huntsman said. "In the meantime it's sucking all the oxygen out of the room, depriving the people of this country from a conversation about the issues that really do matter."

Still, Cain's rivals have so far refrained from openly jumping on him or calling for him to withdraw from the race. As a frontrunner, who has polled at about 25  percent in recent weeks, Cain has many supporters that the other candidates are now wooing.

A safe way to approach it, says Emory political scientist Alan Abramowitz, might be to focus "less on the allegations themselves and character, and more: 'Do you want to take a chance on someone as our nominee when you have these questions out there and this could come back to haunt us in the general election.'" 

Who will benefit the most if this scandal brings down Cain?

While this question is unlikely to be answered in tonight's debate, look for clues.

For months, Republicans have been hunting for an alternative to Mr. Romney who, while a steady frontrunner, seems to lack true conservative credentials to some.

Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain have all auditioned for the spot, but the first two have watched their campaigns fizzle and their poll numbers fall, and Cain seems likely to follow in the wake of the scandal.

Perhaps the person of most interest is Newt Gingrich, who has watched his own numbers slowly climb recently, into the low double digits, and who has been putting in solid debate performances. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Will GOP Debate Be Sidetracked by Herman Cain Sexual Harassment Allegations?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.