From Clarence Thomas to Herman Cain

Politico’s attack on Herman Cain this morning, and subsequent events, have been eerily reminiscent of the Democrats’ ambushing of Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearing. Has anyone checked to see whether Anita Hill ever worked for the National Restaurant Association?

Cain, like Thomas, is defended vigorously by everyone who knows him:

“It’s just not Herman,” says Sibby Wolfson, who was Cain’s executive assistant from 1997 through his first campaign for office in 2004, in a phone interview. “He’s got a lovely wife, a lovely family.”

Did Wolfson ever see Cain act in a way that could be construed as sexual harassment? “No, God, no,” she says. “Nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, I think Herman was careful to act in the opposite way.” …

“Never once have I ever seen anything but professional behavior” from Cain, says Matt Carrothers, who was Cain’s political director from December 2003 to July 2004. “I find [the allegations] extremely hard to believe,” Carrothers says in a phone interview. …

Other veterans of the 2004 campaign agree. “The allegations seem completely unbelievable to me,” says Karol Markowicz, who was Cain’s assistant press secretary in ’04. “He was never anything but a completely perfect gentleman.” She says many who worked on that campaign have the same assessment.

“Sometimes someone is nice or good to you personally but you know they behave a different way toward other people,” Markowicz says. “Herman is not like that. I never saw one moment where he wavered from being an upstanding, solid person.”

Mark Harris, who was Pat Toomey’s campaign director in 2010, worked for Cain in 2004 and calls him a “great guy.”

“My experience with him in 2004 is that he was nothing but a gentleman,” Harris says in a phone interview. He says the sexual harassment allegations don’t fit Cain’s profile. “It’s not the Herman Cain I got to know.”

Ditto, says Alex Brunk, who was Cain’s deputy political director in 2004. “I never saw him treat women inappropriately or heard of him treating women inappropriately,” Brunk says.

So, as with Thomas, the verdict appears to be unanimous, but for the unknown woman or women who said that Cain did something (we don’t know what) that offended them. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, was credibly accused of rape, among other offenses, and was described by his own wife as “a hard dog to keep on the porch.” He remains the most popular figure in the Democratic Party. Go figure.

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