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Cain backs off on blaming Perry for leak

Nov. 3, 2011 at 9:09 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Herman Cain appears to have put a halt on blaming rival GOP U.S. presidential hopeful Rick Perry for stirring up sexual harassment allegations Thursday.

"We want to move on with the campaign. Let's get over these things that don't mean anything to the American public," Mark Block, Cain's campaign manager, said on Fox News Channel.

Cain has been accused of at least four incidents of inappropriate behavior with women, ABC News reported. One women worked for Cain during his 1996-98 tenure as National Restaurant Association president and settled with the organization for more than $30,000 -- a year's worth of salary -- after she filed a complaint.

One source with knowledge of the incident told Politico the woman was approached by Cain in an overtly sexual manner so that "she perceived that her job was at risk if she didn't do it."

The source said the woman took her complaint directly to the National Restaurant Association board and at least two board members, including the association's general counsel Peter Kilgore, looked into the matter, Politico reported.

Cain flatly denied the sexual harassment allegations made against him in an interview Monday on Fox News.

"I don't recall having a private conversation with her. But all of the conversations that I had, it could have been. But I don't recollect," he said.

That same day Cain told Fox News he knew nothing of a settlement with the woman.

"As far as a settlement, I am unaware of any kind of settlement. I hope it wasn't for much, because I didn't do anything. But the fact of the matter is, I'm not aware of a settlement that came out of that accusation," he said.

He recanted later Monday, telling Fox News a settlement did occur and it "might have been two months [salary]."

By Tuesday morning he told CNN's "Headline News," "The one I remember and am aware of was a financial settlement and it was somewhere in the vicinity of three to six months' severance pay, something of that nature."

One other woman who worked for Cain while he was head of the National Restaurant Association made a complaint and was paid $45,000 to keep quiet, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Associated Press reported a third woman had come forward alleging she experienced behavior by Cain at the restaurant association that she deemed inappropriate and unwanted. She said the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.

She alleged she considered filing a complaint but ultimately did not because she began having fewer interactions with Cain.

Chris Wilson, a former National Restaurant Association employee came forward saying Cain made inappropriate remarks to a fourth woman at a group dinner in Arlington, Va., ABC News reported.

Separately, conservative syndicated radio talk show host Steve Deace of WHO-AM, Des Moines, Iowa, accused Cain of saying "awkward" and "inappropriate" things to two women on his staff.

"That is absolutely ridiculous," Cain was quoted by Politico as saying.

"If that was interpreted that way, it was totally a misinterpretation," Cain said. "I have been a professional. I respect women. I have never done anything like that."

Deace's Web site, when reviewed by United Press International early Thursday, said he would have nothing more to say about the matter.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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