Negative press may eclipse GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain's surge in the polls. The successful businessman is pushing back against allegations that he sexually harassed female staffers during his tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
In his first appearance since Politico broke what could shape up to be image-shattering allegations, Cain told Fox News' Jenna Lee that the charges waged against him are both "baseless" and "false.' Additionally, he says that if there was a cash settlement, he was "unaware of it." Here's a rough transcript of the exchange (via Mediaite/TV Eyes):
Jenna Lee: Let’s start with the truth. that’s always the best place to start. What is the truth about these allegations of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct? Have you ever been accused at any time of either?
Herman Cain: I have never sexually harassed anyone, let’s say that. Secondly, I’ve never sexually harassed anyone, and yes, I was falsely accused while I was at the National Restaurant Association, and I say falsely, because it turned out, after the investigation, to be baseless. The people mentioned in that article were the ones who would be aware of any misdoings, and they have attested to my integrity and my character. It is totally baseless, and totally false, never have I committed any sort of sexual harassment.
Lee: Have you ever had to settle a claim, falsely accused or not, sometimes a settlement happens when a false accusation is made. Have you ever had to settle a claim, giving money, or paid someone because a claim of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.
Cain: Outside of the Restaurant Association, absolutely not. If the restaurant association did a settlement, I am not — I wasn’t even aware of it and I hope it wasn’t for much, because nothing happened. So if there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers that worked for me at the association. So the answer is absolutely not.
Cain claims that any other allegations that may surface would have to be falsified. While he admits knowing about these allegations years ago, he "I have never sexually harassed anyone and -- these are false accusations."
Watch the interview, below: