As if his demonstrated inability to remember what was going on in Libya and a host of policy-related gaffes wasn't enough, the latest revelations about Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's private life will surely mop up whatever support still exists for the former Godfathers Pizza don like a piece stale crust.
A woman named Ginger White (click on image above to watch video) has come forward to say she had a 13-year affair with Cain. According to White, the relationship ended shortly before he announced his presidential ambitions and she came forward after questions about Cain and sexual harassment surfaced. "It bothered me that [Cain's accusers] were being demonized, sort of, they were treated as if they were automatically lying, and the burden of proof was on them," White says. She stresses that the relationship was totally consensual and "fun," though she knew all along that he was married.
The candidate has gone on the record denying the affair, a position undercut by his lawyer who issued a statement refusing to discuss the matter:
This appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults—a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public's right to know and the media's right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one's bedroom door.
Mr. Cain has alerted his wife to this new accusation and discussed it with her. He has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media."
There's already a score or more of articles about who "benefits" from revelations of Cain's friend-with-benefit scandal. The list is potentially endless: Barack Obama (scandal-free husband!), Mitt Romney (squeaky-clean!), Newt Gingrich (nothing new to report here!), etc. While I think the statement by Cain's lawyer is an eminently reasonable one, it has no chance of carrying the day, not least because the Cain train had already been derailed by the Herminator's own demonstrated lack of capacity for the job of president (the sexual harassment stories didn't help that of course).
I'm more interested in how various pundits and competitors respond. For instance, how will MSNBC host and JFK fanboy Chris Matthews cover this sort of thing? How will surging Newt Gingrich (ugh, there goes sleep for a week) respond and react, given his own professed peccadilloes on similar grounds?
Cain is scheduled to speak at Hillsdale College, a conservative campus in Michigan tonight (that has its own sex scandal in the recent past). Assuming he goes through with his appearance, the Q&A session ought to be pretty crackling.
Read Reason's presidential candidate profile of Cain.
And take Reason's presidential, coff, coff, quiz, that guarantees you to match you "to your perfect sweetheart GOP presidential candidate."