Supporters of Herman Cain say they will not to be distracted by the sexual allegations dominating media coverage Monday.
According to the Politico, two women accused Cain of “inappropriate behavior” and reportedly received five-figure payments after signing an agreement with the National Restaurant Association. The allegations date back to the 1990s when Cain was head of the Association.
The story gained momentum Monday largely because of Cain’s initial lackluster response. When approached by Politico’s Jonathan Martin, who co-wrote the article, the usually outspoken politician was evasive and uncharacteristically side-stepped giving a direct answer.
WATCH HERMAN CAIN ADDRESS THE ALLEGATIONS HERE:
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This sparked speculation the allegations may damage Cain’s presidential campaign, which sees him neck-and-neck with former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney.
Clarence McKee an African-American Republican Party strategist based in South Florida says these types of allegations do not surprise him. “It’s another Clarence Thomas effort, they also tried to get him,” he says.
“It’s ironic that the two prominent minority Republicans — Herman Cain and Marco Rubio — have had allegations resurface about their past. The Liberal Establishment does not want African Americans and Hispanics voting for black or Hispanic Republicans because they know they will lose a solid fan base.”
Cain has tried to get in front of the story, with a vehement denial of the allegations earlier today on Fox News.
“I have never sexually harassed anyone,” Cain said in the interview. “I was falsely accused while I was at the National Restaurant Association — and I say ‘falsely’ because it turned out, after the investigation, to be baseless.”
Don Howell, an African-American vice-president of an electronics company in Utah and supporter of Cain says, “This is just a tactic to derail Cain’s campaign coming from the Democrats. The Democrats are desperate to salvage their position so they are going to go out their way to put as much as they can on Cain, who they see as a threat,” he says.
“The allegations date back to the 1990s. It’s a long time ago. How come there haven’t been any recent allegations? I will wait to see all the facts before I make any judgment.”
WATCH NBC NEWS COVERAGE OF CAIN’S REMARKS AT THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB:
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Speaking and taking questions at the National Press Club in Washington on Monday afternoon, Cain admitted he was accused of sexual allegations but he went onto say, “I have never sexually harassed anyone,” the allegations are “totally false” and he was “unaware of any type of settlement.”
However, NBC confirms that at least one the woman did receive a settlement, so the question still remains if Cain is innocent why was money was paid out.
“The Republican Party holds candidates to higher standards than the Democrats,” says Republican Phil Russo who is based in New Jersey. “When people become successful these types of allegations come out of the woodwork. I don’t put much credence to things like this.”
However, Russo, one of the founding members of the Orlando Tea Party, adds, “If the story is substantiated. Cain will have to drop out of the Presidential race.”
theGrio contacted the Republican Party of Iowa but a spokesman declined to comment.