Mark Block, GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain’s chief of staff, said on Friday that the campaign is considering suing Politico, the news organization that broke the story about sexual harassment claims against the businessman when he ran the National Restaurant Association from 1996 to 1999.
“It’s being discussed. End of story,” Block said on Fox News's America's Newsroom.
The Politico story ignited a firestorm that threatens to engulf the Cain campaign. Since it was published on Sunday, Cain has issued conflicting public statements about what happened and what he knew about financial settlements the women received. And it led to additional revelations that Cain may have acted inappropriately with other women. One of the women who worked for Cain at the association is threatening to go public to contradict Cain's claims that the accusations were baseless.
“The fact of the matter -- the Politico article, if it was held up to the same standard as the code of ethics for journalism, the people involved in that would be fired,” Block said. He added, “The media this week has been a cesspool, and we’re not going to swim in that cesspool anymore.”
Block said that his comments on Friday would be “the last time” he’ll address the allegations against Cain. “As you know, Mr. Cain is a different kind of candidate. We have run a different kind of campaign, and we’re not going to play by the rules that the media has established,” he said.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Friday shows that support for Cain has not diminished among Republicans despite the sexual harassment controversy. Block said the poll results show that the country has “total faith in Mr. Cain.”
The National Restaurant Association is expected to decide on Friday whether to release one of Cain’s alleged victims from a confidentiality agreement that was part of her financial settlement. Block said he expects any new information to match Cain’s version of the story.
Cain has publicly accused Republican rival Rick Perry’s campaign of leaking the story to Politico, while Block has previously said on Fox News that he doesn’t believe the Perry campaign is to blame. Asked again about Perry’s possible involvement, Block said, “We are referring back to Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”
Cain also attracted criticism this week for saying he’s worried that China is “trying to develop nuclear capability.” China tested its first nuclear weapon in 1964. “What Mr. Cain as referring to was that China had wanted to get up to the nuclear capability of the United States, not that they didn’t have nuclear capabilities,” Block said on Friday.
Block said that Cain’s foreign policy stance will build on Reagan’s doctrine of “peace through strength.”
“The Herman Cain doctrine is peace through strength and clarity,” he said.
Cain’s briefings on current events leading up to Saturday’s debate in Texas with Newt Gingrich included a meeting with Henry Kissinger, Block said.
“He’s a fast study, and he’s being brought up to speed on the issues,” Block said of Cain.