Does Cain have a history of 'inappropriate behavior'?
This is a week Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain will never ever forget. The beleaguered politician is fighting to salvage his reputation, save his political career and persuade journalists to refocus on his message.
Since Politico broke the story of Cain’s “inappropriate behavior” during his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association, the pressure has been intense.
On Wednesday a third woman reportedly came forward to accuse Cain of inappropriate behavior in the workforce, according to The Associated Press.
Initially Cain’s team blamed the “smear campaign” on liberals but the controversy took another twist on Wednesday when Cain pointed the finger at a consultant with ties to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign.
WATCH NBC COVERAGE OF HERMAN CAIN’S CONTROVERSIES:
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Despite the whirlwind of allegations, claims and counter claims, the former CEO of Godfather Pizza, seems to evoke loyalty among his followers and those who know him best.
Matt Carrothers, Cain’s former political director during his 2004 Senate run, describes the Georgia businessman as a mentor and friend.
“He is inspirational. You never have a dull day with Cain because of the positive attitude he brings to life,” Carrothers says. “Whatever the issue Cain is someone who will always identify solutions. When you are around someone like that you can’t help feel motivated. Cain is extraordinarily genuine and passionate about political issues. He feels inspired to run for president.”
Friends, family and those close to Cain all vouch for his dynamic character. It is this charismatic personality that has swayed public opinion. Following the recent GOP debates, polls have consistently picked Cain as the most likable candidate.
“My interactions with Herman have been first class. He’s charismatic, personable and would have the crowds eating out his hands,” says Buzz Brockway, who served as Chairman of the Gwinnett County Republican Party from 2002 – 2005, when Cain was going for the Senate.
Cain is a chameleon. The successful business executive turned radio host to unexpected frontrunner of the Republican presidential nomination. Early on in his career he worked as a ballistics analyst for the United States Navy.
Condace Pressley, assistant program director at WSB Radio in Atlanta, managed and coached Cain while he worked at the station as a talk show host. She says he has an outstanding work ethic.
“Herman hadn’t done any radio before we sought him out. He was very coachable and eager to learn what he needed to do to fly in the job,” she says. “Herman is terrific guy and delightful man to work with. He is kind, courteous and respectful to those around him. He’d always have a holiday party at his family home where he’d invite leadership and staff from WSB.”
Pressley says his popularity with listeners meant bosses quickly moved him from nights to the 7p slot. “He improved the evening ratings,” Pressley says. “Our listeners loved him, he’s plain spoken, has common sense and doesn’t shy away from controversy.”
Those close to Cain say he has a close bond to his wife. Gloria Cain the homemaker while Cain has focused his energies on climbing the corporate ladder.
Republican candidate for Congress and close friend of Herman Cain, Martha Zoller said in an interview with MSNBC.com, “She is very supportive, but her one reservation was that she did not want to be in the spotlight. She understands that at some time that may come. Until then, the loves her so much that he is going to protect her. They’re crazy about each other.”
“Cain is a man of extraordinary character and faith. He’s an associate minister at his Georgia church and is devoted to his wife, children and grandchildren,” Carrothers says. “He respects anyone he comes into contact with. Cain has faced so many challenges and never takes anything for granted.”
TheGrio contacted the National Restaurant Association for an interview but they declined to comment and instead emailed this statement.
“The incidents in question relate to personnel matters that allegedly took place nearly fifteen years ago. Consistent with our longstanding policy, we don’t comment on personnel issues relating to current or former employees,” said Sue Hensley, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Communications for the National Restaurant Association.
In many ways Cain epitomizes the American dream. Born into poverty in Memphis and raised in Georgia, his drive, ambition and personality has propelled him to secure coveted leadership positions.
The Georgian businessman is shrewd player who has amassed a substantial amount of wealth through lucrative executive positions, investments, royalties and stocks & shares. Disclosures filed during his campaign in 2011 categorized Cain’s wealth as of that time as being $2.8 million and $6.3 million, with Cain’s income from 2010 to August 2011 being between $1.2 million and $2.4 million.
The largest single source of his income came from Whirlpool Corp., the appliance manufacturer, where he pulled in $359,008 in the year-and-a-half reporting period. He has a financial interest in the company of between $500,000 and $1 million.
Money aside, they say a man’s reputation is more desirable than riches. Cain still needs to convince the public and probing media he is a man of moral integrity. That could be an uphill struggle but so far the run-up to the 2012 presidential election has been jam-packed with unexpected surprises.