Cain went out of his way to emphasize that he takes sexual harassment seriously, saying he has witnessed it in the workplace and calling it a "very serious charge.”
“In no way have I tried to minimize sexual harassment in the workplace,” he said. “Having led many organizations, yes, I have seen instances where it could be interpreted as sexual harassment. And if I saw it, and if it were an employee or a direct report of mine, I dealt with it immediately, before the other person perceived it as an infringement of their privacy.”
Cain blamed the flurry of accusations against his campaign on a “Democratic machine” and other opponents who he says don’t want a businessman to become president. But after a week of maintaining virtual silence about the story that has dominated the political headlines for the past week, many of Cain's Republican rivals began to raise concerns about the sexual allegations against him. In interviews with ABC and Yahoo, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich all characterized the charges as serious. "He has to have an answer and it has to be accurate," said Gingrich.
Romney called the reports “particularly disturbing.”
That his Republican opponents are beginning to weigh in on the accusations, first reported last week by Politico, underscores the peril Cain’s campaign faces, particularly now that two women have gone public. Gallup reported on Tuesday that Cain’s popularity among Republicans, once the highest in the field, has taken a dive since news of the accusations broke.
Cain acknowledged that even if he wants the story to end, it probably won’t. Other accusers will likely “come out of the woodwork,” he said.
“There will probably be others, not because I am aware of any, but because the machine to keep a businessman out of the White House is going to be relentless,” he said. “And if they continue to come, I will continue to respond.”