Perry, Romney camps flatly deny pushing Cain allegations

The presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and Rick Perry on Monday flatly denied any involvement in pushing the story of sexual allegations against rival Herman Cain.

"Every time one of the other campaigns gets a bad story they try to blame us," said Perry spokesperson Mark Miner. "It's way off-base. It's completely inaccurate."

Mitt Romney's campaign issued a similar response. "We had absolutely nothing to do with it," said Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul.

The report in Politico said two women left the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s after complaining of sexually inappropriate behavior by Cain, who headed the organization at that time.

The report said the women received financial settlements to leave the trade group, and that as a part of those deals they agreed not to discuss their complaints. NBC News confirmed Monday that at least one of the women who accused Cain of inappropriate advances received a payout from the group.

Speaking at the National Press Club Monday afternoon, Cain was asked whether he thought another campaign had dug up the information that led to the article.

"‪I told you this bull's eye on my back has gotten bigger," he responded before admitting he had "no idea" whether another campaign had promoted the story. 

"We have no idea the source of this witch hunt, which is really what it is," he said.

The story received blanket coverage from news organizations Monday, threatening serious damage to Cain's ascendant campaign.

Other GOP campaigns also vehemently denied being behind the story.

"We plan to go after Mr. Cain, and Romney and Perry for that matter, over issues like their support of bailouts and TARP," said Ron Paul spokesman Jesse Benton. "Our campaign stays away from the personal attacks and mud slinging."

Hogan Gidley, a spokesman for Rick Santorum, said they "had absolutely nothing to do with it." 

The campaign of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) also denied any involvement. "It absolutely did not come from us," Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart said.

Spokespeople for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) also said their campaigns had no involvement in pushing the story.

—Updated at 9:56 a.m. on Tuesday.