Cain chief-of-staff: 'Rick Perry needs to apologize to Herman Cain' for planting story

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“I told my wife about this in 1999 and I’ve got nothing to hide,” Cain told Forbes. “When I sat down with my general campaign consultant Curt Anderson in a private room in our campaign offices in 2003 we discussed opposition research on me. It was a typical campaign conversation. I told him that there was only one case, one set of charges, one woman while I was at the National Restaurant Association. Those charges were baseless, but I thought he needed to know about them. I don’t recall anyone else being in the room when I told him.”

But Anderson flatly denied the accusation on Wednesday.

"I'd never heard any of these allegations until I read them in Politico, nor does anything I read in the press change my opinion that Herman is an upstanding man and a gentleman," Anderson said in a statement. "I have great respect for Herman and his character and I would never speak ill of him, on the record or off the record. That's true today and it's not going to change."

The Perry campaign reiterated the denial.

“No one at our campaign was involved in this story in any way.  Any claim to the contrary is patently false,” said Ray Sullivan, Perry’s communications director, adding that the campaign learned about the story along with the rest of the country when they opened the newspaper.

In an interview with the National Journal and CBS, Sullivan suggested that it instead may have been Mitt Romney's campaign that planted the story.


“There are blog postings around as well ... discussing that Cain's successor at the restaurant association is a big Romney donor and some of the board members,” Sullivan said. “There are much closer connections between the restaurant association, Cain, and the Romney camp than there are with us...I wouldn’t put it past them.”


Steven C. Anderson, who followed Cain as CEO of the trade group, donated $1,000 to Romney's campaign on July 14 according to the FEC.

Block also denied allegations that had surfaced in a report by the Associated Press of a third woman at the Restaurant Association having considered filing sexual harassment charges, and a report in the Des Moines Register that an Iowa radio host found his behavior toward a female guest as "awkward."

"I asked Mr. Cain directly, are the anything to say of these allegations and he looked me directly in the eye and said 'no'," Block said.

Block acknowledged that the campaign should have handled the accusations better, and that the "buck stopped here" with the bungling of the situation. But he returned to his accusations against rival campaigns saying that "if I spent all my time chasing anonymous allegations" he would be busy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - "just what these other campaigns want."

But despite strongly denying any wrongdoing on behalf of his candidate, Block stopped short of calling for his accusers to be released from confidentiality orders that have thus far restricted their ability to come forward about the allegations.

"That's totally up to the National Restaurant Association," Block said.