The head of the conservative Media Research Center, Brent Bozell, called the Politico story a "High-tech lynching of Herman Cain." That was a reference to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' response to a former worker's allegations during his confirmation hearing.
"In the eyes of the liberal media, Herman Cain is just another uppity black American who has had the audacity to leave the liberal plantation," Bozell wrote on the conservative website Newsbusters.org.
The allegations came to light Sunday night when Politico reported that at least two women who complained about sexually inappropriate behavior while working for Cain had signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them five-figure financial payouts to leave the association and barred them from discussing their departures. Neither woman was identified.
The report was based on anonymous sources and, in one case, what the publication said was a review of documentation that described the allegations and the resolution. Politico said Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon told the publication that Cain had indicated to campaign officials that he was "vaguely familiar" with the charges and that the restaurant association's general counsel had resolved the matter.
But Cain, himself, refused to comment to Politico when asked specifically about one of the woman's claims. And when asked if he had ever been accused of harassment by a woman, the publication said Cain responded by asking the reporter, "Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?"
Gordon told the AP in a written statement late Sunday that "Inside-the-Beltway media have begun to launch unsubstantiated personal attacks" on the candidate.
Despite the controversy, Cain pressed ahead with his full slate of campaign appearances in Washington on Monday.
At a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, he refused to answer questions about the allegations. Still, as he was leaving the stage, he stopped, turned to the crowd and talked about his sense of humor without providing any context. He said his staff tells him to be himself — or "Let Herman be Herman."
He added: "Herman is going to stay Herman."
An hour later, he was on Fox News.
"If more allegations come, I assure you, people will simply make them up," Cain said. Besides his job as CEO of Godfather's Pizza, he worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
"What you can expect from my campaign is for me to stay on message, for us to continue to do the things and execute our strategy in order to win the nomination," Cain said.
"Obviously, some people are going to be turned off by this cloud that someone wanted to put over my campaign," he said. "But a lot of people aren't going to be turned off. We'll just have to wait and see what happens."
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