It was 85 days ago, here at the National Press Club in downtown Washington, that former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain faced a herd of cameras, photographers and reporters desperate for his reaction to a Politico story that ran the previous evening revealing he faced sexual harassment allegations during his time at the National Restaurant Association.
Cain has kept busy since he suspended his presidential campaign last month. He started a PAC called Cain Solutions (his campaign website is still accepting donations, encouraging potential donors to “help Slay the TAX Monster”), launched a bus tour, hung out on Fox News and appeared at a South Carolina rally with Stephen Colbert.
Tuesday night’s Cain-related event at the Press Club — he was responding to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on behalf of the Tea Party Express — was a little more low-key. Smaller room, smaller crowd, no 9-9-9 cupcakes. But it stuck a familiar theme: Cain called on Obama to “stop the class warfare,” said “Obamacare” was “forced down our throats” and said the liberal media couldn’t stop the Tea Party movement.
Cain had watched the debate in a separate room with his mustachioed right-hand-man Mark Block, Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer and a few other associates.
After his address Cain answered questions from an audience of a few dozen people. Care to endorse Romney or Gingrich? Nope. How’d that Stephen Colbert thing work out? Great. But even in the friendly conservative crowd, the sexual harassment allegations reared their head. Responding to a question from the Daily Caller’s Michelle Fields, Cain blamed timing for the negative impact that the allegations had against him had in his poll numbers (in comparison to the muted impact Newt Gingrich’s well-known sexual history has had on his campaign).
“Because the false attacks against me came early in the process, the American people are waking up to dirty, gutter politics,” Cain said, adding that the attacks on Gingrich ahead of the South Carolina primaries were “carefully timed” but have ultimately backfired.
“The American voters are saying ‘we ain’t stupid.’ They know it was well timed and planned, and people are waking up to the dirty side of politics,” Cain said. “They hadn’t awakened totally to the dirty, negative side of politics when I was first attacked, but I happen to believe that people are waking up.”