POLITICS

Cain blames media, Perry for furor

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Herman Cain is defending himself anew and - without evidence - blaming presidential rival Rick Perry's campaign of being behind the disclosure of years-old sexual harassment allegations against him.

Cain is pressing forward, even as a third woman says she considered filing a complaint against him over sexually suggestive remarks and gestures and Politico, who first broke the story, reported additional details about the alleged incident.

"This will not deter me" in the race for the White House, Cain declared, repeatedly denying the allegations in interviews on conservative media outlets.

"Did you tell a woman she looked good?" radio host Sean Hannity asked. "That dress looks hot?"

"Nope."

"Any flirtation that you can think of?"

"Nope," Cain said firmly.

At the same time, he and aides tried to demonstrate a campaign returning to normalcy or even benefiting from the controversy.

Cain, a career businessman, held private meetings in New York during the day, including one on foreign policy with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

And campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon said donors had sent in $1.2 million since news of the allegations first surfaced, far above the customary amount for several days.

In a personal note, Cain said his wife, Gloria, was "still 200 percent supportive of me in this whole race, 200 percent supportive of me as her husband, because I haven't done anything."

The furor erupted at a time when Cain had vaulted to the top of public opinion polls as a leading conservative challenger to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination - adding spice to a race already as unpredictable as any in recent memory.

Since it was reported late Sunday that at least two women had complained about Cain when they worked at the National Restaurant Association - and had received financial settlements - Cain has said consistently he never sexually harassed anyone. But his answers to other pertinent questions have changed. In one instance, he first denied knowing of any settlements with former employees, then said he recalled one, explaining he had been aware of an "agreement" but not a "settlement."

 

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