TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The sexual-harassment scandal surrounding Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain so far has done little to diminish his ability to bring out a crowd. At the end of a series of well-attended events in the state on Thursday, Cain drew 1,000 people to the Streeters Center, some of whom arrived hours ahead of time to get a seat.
Cain made only brief mention of the issue that has defined his campaign over the past two weeks — allegations that he harassed or made sexual overtures to four women who were his subordinates when he headed the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. But he did reveal more reasons he thinks he is the target of separate accusations made by four women who worked at the NRA.
“The thing about me, which is why I’m being attacked ... is because I’m not part of the political class" cain said. "That’s why I’m being attacked. I know that and you know that,” Cain said. At another Michigan earlier on Thursday, Cain said he believes he is a target because he refuses to be “politically correct.”
Since the scandal began, Cain and his campaign operatives have floated several explanations for the multiple accusations against the former pizza-chain CEO, variously blaming the mainstream media, the Rick Perry campaign, and a conspiracy by unidentified Democrats. Most of those claims have not held up to scrutiny. The Cain campaign even blamed a former Politico reporter (who now works for this publication) whom it misidentified as the son of one of his accusers; although they share a surname, there is no relationship between the two.
On Thursday evening, Cain told the cheering Traverse City crowd, “Whenever I made a decision in my career, I never looked back. Once I made a decision after a lot of prayer — a lot of consideration and a lot of prayer — I never looked back. And I haven’t looked back on this, so I have absolutely no regrets for this journey I’m on right now. Not a one.”
Cain gave his standard stump speech, promoting his "9-9-9" tax plan and calling for repeal of the health care law and greater investment in the military to restore the country to former President Reagan’s “shining city on a hill.”
At earlier events in Michigan on Thursday, Cain told supporters that he has “been through hell” after nearly two weeks of headlines about sexual-harassment allegations. But he also claimed in an e-mail that his campaign had collected $2.25 million since the story broke in Politico on Oct. 30. The amount can’t be verified until the required disclosures are made public in January.
In Ypsilanti, he backtracked somewhat on his flip description of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as “Princess Nancy” during Wednesday’s GOP candidate debate. When reporters asked him if the comment could be considered disrespectful of the former House speaker, Cain apologized but said he was only doing so to stop reporters from asking more questions about the matter.