Cain mum on latest harassment twist

By Laurie Kellman

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 2 2011 11:05 a.m. MDT

He has said he is not aware of agreements or settlements with any other women, though Politico — which first disclosed the allegations — reported that the trade group had given settlements to at least two female employees who accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior.

The New York Times reported Tuesday night that the trade group gave a female employee a year's salary in severance pay, $35,000, after she said an encounter with Cain made her uncomfortable working there. The newspaper cited three people with knowledge of the payment to the woman, who was not Bennett's client.

For Cain, Wednesday was supposed to be the culmination of a three-day attempt at courting official Washington — and the GOP old guard that seems to be tilting ever more toward Romney.

A former talk show host, Cain is a self-styled political outsider who has attracted tea party support and, for now at least, weathered a series of stumbles that have many GOP luminaries questioning his ability to run a viable campaign much less win the party's nomination. Conversely, Romney is running his second national campaign and has spent the past few weeks shoring up support among the GOP establishment for a nomination fight many Republican insiders think is his to lose.

Cain has spent the past three days defending himself and giving conflicting accounts as to what happened in the 1990s.

By Tuesday night, Cain had begun to try to pivot toward Congress and the war for lawmakers' endorsements that could mean critical on-the-ground support and campaign cash. Cain's rival in Iowa, Romney, has a sophisticated network of surrogates in Congress trying to coax their colleagues into his camp. So far, they've rounded up at least 33 endorsements. Cain has none.

But lawmakers remained interested.

The delegation from Cain's home state, Georgia, helped set up a series of private events intended to introduce Cain around Capitol Hill.

Cain dined near the Capitol with a gathering of Republican senators Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, after a speech in nearby Alexandria, Va., Cain was heading to Capitol Hill for a speech to House members on health care.

From there, it was back-to-back events set up by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga. First, Cain was to meet and greet House members at the discreet Capitol Hill Club for a conversation about health care policy. Then it was on to the Republican National Committee, where Cain was to speak with members of the Georgia delegation, a spokesman for Graves said.

At some point, Cain was to meet House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Ryan is meeting presidential candidates in his role at the Republican National Committee.

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