A Couple of Problems With Blaming Curt Anderson
First, you should know that yesterday, well before the blame game started, a buddy of mine called me and said he was hearing from people close to Cain that they thought Curt Anderson was behind this.That was preceded and followed by calls from several reporters who’d seen my piece saying it was probably another campaign’s opposition research. The reporters were telling me they are hearing this leak happened from someone within the National Restaurant Association, not from a campaign. There was apparently a meeting of the board, referenced by the Politico, about throwing its support behind Herman. A few days after that meeting, the story got to the Politico — at least that’s the story I’m hearing.The problem with blaming Anderson is two fold. First, he’s worked for Cain, Mitt Romney, and Rick Perry. He’s a professional campaign consultant. Like him or hate him, he’s not going to directly leak something like this or be the source of it, particularly if he knows Herman Cain knows Anderson knows because Cain told him. When you’re that much of a professional politico, you at least have to have some modicum of decent reputation for the big guys to want to hire you.But the larger problem comes from our own Moe Lane on twitter. He notes, “Anderson denying TO POLITICO that he leaked *to* Politico *does* clear him. Unless Politico *wants* to self-destruct. If Politico prints a denial that they KNOW is a lie, they’re in deep trouble when that gets out.”Regardless of the editorial standards of the Politico, they most likely would not first make an inquiry to Curt Anderson and then run that inquiry by Curt Anderson as a denial if Curt Anderson were the source.I realize the Cain camp’s emotions are raw right now and they are angry and they want to beat someone up. But the optics of beating up Perry aren’t good for Cain who, in 2008 endorsed Romney, whose campaign manager has ties to Romney, and who has spent the better part of this campaign making sure everyone knows he’d never support Rick Perry if Rick Perry were the nominee and while everyone else was defending Perry about that magical, mythical rock no one can seem to get a picture of was out beating Perry up about that rock.In addition to raising additional questions about the inconsistency of his statements, the time he had to have known this was coming out, etc., it makes Cain look as petty and ridiculous as the Politico running something so wholly unsubstantiated. It also keeps the story alive, going in new directions, and does nothing to begin reeling in the story. This is precisely how you do not do damage control.The problem, of course, is that as this has gone on and the Cain camp has resorted to lashing out at Rick Perry, it is more evident that there is no there there with regards to Curt Anderson, but that there was a there there with the Politico story.And it additionally does not help Herman Cain that his campaign manager went on Fox News and said the campaign would not agree or support the women involved being released from their non-disclosure agreements. The only way for this story to start going away is to let the women speak and judge on the merits what they claim was harassment.Mark Block saying, in effect, “no chance,” not only affirms the “victim” status of the women in the mind of the media, it takes the story to a new level and broadens the scope of the media inquiry.