'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, December 1st, 2011
Read the transcript to the Thursday show
Guests: Joe Klein, Robert Draper, Drew Cline, Ginger White
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Tonight, two exclusive interviews.
First, a reporter who was in the room today in New Hampshire as Herman
Cain answered questions about his 13-year relationship with Ginger White.
And second, Ginger White.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Herman Cain is in New Hampshire today, to
finally have that meeting with the New Hampshire "Union Leaders" editorial
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obviously, they brought up
the question of the reassessment.
TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Herman Cain has a date night with Gloria
CAIN: I`ve talked to my wife many times since Monday.
MITCHELL: He may face tougher questions when he heads home and has a
different meeting this weekend with Gloria.
CAIN: I have not talked with her face to face.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope he`s bringing a lot of flowers and
CAIN: Obama might raise a billion dollars, but the American people
are going to raise some Cain in 2012.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we need Newt
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we always get with Newt is this high drama.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The former House speaker is saying he will
surpass Mitt Romney.
GINGRICH: I`m clearly the more conservative candidate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His poll numbers are on the rise.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO HOST: It looks like Gingrich will be that
GINGRICH: They may turn out to be Newt and not Newt.
REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He can hardly be an
alternative to Mitt Romney.
MITCHELL: Gingrich is coming under attack on all fronts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Paul campaign labels Gingrich a, quote,
PAUL: He`s a flip-flopper.
GINGRICH: I helped lead the effort to defeat communism.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Romney getting really testy.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You`re wrong, Bret. Bret,
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney overreacting a little bit?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitt got a little defensive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve just seen the tip of the iceberg.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: What Bret Baier of FOX News about his interview
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: He said, he thought it was overly aggressive.
ROMNEY: It is unusual interview. All right, let`s do it again.
BAIER: He didn`t like the interview and thought it was uncalled for.
ROMNEY: Bret, I don`t know how many hundred times I`ve said this,
NIA MALIKA-HENDERSON, WASHINGTON POST: It`s like the Pee-wee Herman
strategy. When Pee-wee Herman, when he was attacked, he would always say,
I know you are, but what am I?
PAUL: He`s a flip-flopper.
O`DONNELL: With 33 days to go before the peculiar and sometimes
meaningless exercise called the Iowa caucuses and exactly 40 days to go to
the New Hampshire primary, where people actually do what most of us
recognize as voting, professional Democrats find themselves in agreement
with Republican voters on one thing. They both want anyone but Romney to
be the Republican nominee.
The Democratic National Committee has done exactly one attack ad
against exactly one candidate, Mitt Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: From the creator of "I`m running for office for Pete`s
sake" comes the of two men trapped in one body. Mitt versus Mitt. Two
Mitts willing to say anything.
ROMNEY: We put together an exchange and the president`s copying that
idea. I`m glad to hear that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: After a disastrous Romney interview appearance on FOX
News, Jon Huntsman was quick to exploit it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BAIER: How can voters trust what they hear from you today is what you
will believe if you win the White House?
ROMNEY: Well, Bret, your list is just not accurate. So one, we`re
going to have to be better informed about my views on issues.
BAIER: Different issues, climate change --
ROMNEY: I believe basically what I read is the world is getting
warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that.
We don`t know what`s causing climate change on this planet.
ROMNEY: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this
That I have consistently been pro-life.
BAIER: And immigration --
ROMNEY: The 12 million or so that are here illegally should be able
to sign up for citizenry or citizenship.
We`re not going to have an amnesty system that says that people who
come here illegally get to stay for the rest of their life in this country
O`DONNELL: Until this week, Romney has been playing the role of the
inevitable nominee, but after the FOX News interview and Newt Gingrich`s
surge in the polls, Romney may still be a front-runner. But he is no
Joining me now, "Time" magazine columnist Joel Klein whose latest
column on Romney entitled, "Where is the Love?" will appear in tomorrow`s
"Time" magazine. Also, "New York Times" magazine writer Robert Draper
whose article "Building a Better Mitt Romney-Bot" will appear in this
Sunday`s "New York Times" magazine.
Joe, I want to go straight to your piece where you talk about the
flip-flops which is the central problem. Where is the love with Republican
voters is all about where is the consistency with Mitt Romney, right?
So, you write about it saying, "All too often his switchbacks have
been so expedient as to make you wonder how stupid or short-sighted he
thinks the electorate is." That really struck me because that`s the first
time it focused on the possibility that the Republican electorate could
feel insulted by the Romney approach to issues.
JOE KLEIN, TIME: Well, in talking to some Republicans out on the
road, you know, they do feel insulted. They think that he hasn`t been
And when you look at his career, this is a guy, a very intelligent
guy, who has never run as who he probably is. You know, when he ran for
the Senate and governor in Massachusetts, he ran as a social liberal. But
before that, he had been a Mormon bishop and president. And he had
counseled women against having abortions and so on.
So, he kind of trimmed on social issues before. And now having been a
moderate governor of Massachusetts, the first to institute universal health
care via an individual mandate, he`s running as a conservative because
that`s the only -- on a broad range of policy issues, because that`s the
only way you can survive in a Republican presidential primary these days.
The inconsistencies are staggering.
O`DONNELL: He actually is something that we once recognized. We used
to call them moderate. And sometimes even liberal Republicans, when you
think of John Chafee, the late Republican Senator from Rhode Island, he was
for an individual mandate in health care. I believe he was pro-choice, as
I recall -- a set of positions that Romney would have held.
KLEIN: Look, Mitt came into political consciousness in a moment when
there was something called the empowerment wing of the Republican Party
which was led by none other than Newt Gingrich who has had all of these
very same flip-flops. And they were -- they were the people who came up
with cap-and-trade and a market-based system to reduce pollution. They`re
the people who came up with the individual mandate. That came out of the
Heritage Foundation. They`re the people who came up with the earned income
And these were a bunch of really good ideas that Democrats modified
and then tried to adopt.
O`DONNELL: Robert Draper, are you focused on how the Romney candidacy
has changed into this version of the presidential candidacy, and with a
strong focus on advisers and how much control they have over him. And by
the way, the advisers prevented Joe Klein and you from getting any access
to Romney for these pieces, right?
ROBERT DRAPER, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: That`s true. And that`s been
their policy throughout, Lawrence. Nothing personal to me or to Joe.
But instead, their view is that Romney did a lot of interviews in the
last election cycle. And they simply don`t see the value to doing any
I wouldn`t say that his strategists have control of Romney. What they
have done is sort of narrow cast him. Joe was talking about how they`re
running him now as a conservative. I would refine that maybe to say
they`re running him as a business conservative. And they`re keeping him --
as Stuart Stevens, the chief strategist of the campaign, had mentioned to
me an analogy -- kind of an unlikely one to the dynamic Philadelphia
Eagles` quarterback Michael Vick in which he said, you know, Michael Vick,
don`t try to turn him into a pocket passer. Let him be a rollout passer.
In fact, design a system in which he can be the best rollout passer there
They`re doing that with Romney except, of course, Romney is the
opposite of Vick. He cannot improvise. And so, they have created a pocket
for him, and that pocket is the businessman, you know, the ultimate
And it presupposes that this is a single-issue election. And it
presupposes as well that people know enough about Mitt Romney already to
accept this narrow-cast version of him. I`m not sure either of those
O`DONNELL: Robert, I want to read a piece of your article which
refers to how the advisers had told him how he can deal with the right wing
of the party.
You say, "Advisers have counseled Romney to ignore tax from
disapproving conservatives like the comment made by the Baptist supporter
and Perry supporter Robert Jeffries that Mormonism is a cult. Four years
ago that would have set off all sorts of alarm bells. We would have tried
to mobilize our evangelical supporters to counter what Jeffries and others
have been saying. A senior staff member told me the Romney campaign has
made its peace with and in the general election may make a virtue out of
the fact that he remains despised by the far right."
Joe, can that work? Can he be despised by the far right, pick up a
nomination, and then use his centrist appeal in general election?
KLEIN: He seems to think that you can run for president under the
radar. There is no -- there is no place under the radar when you`re
running for president. I mean, the interesting thing about his press
strategy is that it`s the complete reverse of what candidates did in the
past. In the past, candidates open up their campaigns when no one`s
watching a year or so out, and they do all of their interviews out. They
sit down with Draper for hours, and they sit down with me.
And then when it gets to be Labor Day or in a general election or this
point in the primary election, they shut it down. You know, Bill Clinton
who I had a pretty good relationship with wouldn`t talk to me after Labor
Day in 1992. And that`s the way -- that`s the way professional politicians
The level of amateurism in this Republican primary race, by every last
one of these candidates, is staggering.
O`DONNELL: I want to read part of your piece, Joe, where you talk
about how he changes his mind. "It`s often fascinating to watch Romney`s
mind at work as he flips his flops. Abortion is a classic case. His first
public position was itself a flip-flop, running for the Senate in 1994. He
announced that he was personally opposed to abortion but that I do not
impose my beliefs on other people.
Previously as a Mormon bishop," as you just said, "he had gone so far
as to visit a woman in the hospital to try to dissuade her from having an
abortion. He was still sort of pro-choice when he ran for governor in
2004, but he started flopping his flip midterm as the dire Potomac virus
set in: you can`t be pro-choice in today`s Republican Party."
Why couldn`t you know sooner than that that you couldn`t be pro-choice
in today`s Republican Party and get the presidency?
KLEIN: Why didn`t he know sooner than that that the individual
mandate wasn`t going to work either? I mean, you know, the fact is that
this party -- it`s not really totally his fault. This Republican Party has
hurtled to the right at warp speed over the last decade. And there was --
you know, it caught Newt Gingrich by surprise, too, because Newt, as I
said, took many of the exact same positions on matters of substance as
O`DONNELL: Robert, I just want to go to one final part of your
article where they talk about his people skills. "Stories of Romney`s
wooden people skills are legion. `The Mormon`s never going to win the who-
do-you-want-to-have-a-beer-with contest,` concedes one adviser. While
another acknowledges, `He`s never had the experience of sitting in a bar
and, like, talking.`"
I take particular offense at that since I`ve never had a beer in my
life. I`ve never had any alcohol at all. And Joe can tell you I`m a
perfectly approachable un-wooden character.
Since when did you only learn to talk to people in bars half drunk?
DRAPER: In fact, George W. Bush is a pretty good people person who
hadn`t had a drink in a long time, you know? But it`s true. You know,
this is not Romney`s strong suit, you know, interacting with people. It`s
oftentimes painful on the campaign trail when you see him try to do retail
politics. It`s just not what he does well. And frankly, I think that the
campaign has if not made its peace with, at least reckoned with the fact
that, you know, you go with a candidate you have, not the one you wish you
Nonetheless, I think that, you know, as Joe said, the campaign
strategy of keeping him away from the media would work with other
candidates, perhaps. Ironically, I think it would work with the very
viable Newt Gingrich because we have a sense of him. I don`t think it
works so much with a guy like Romney.
O`DONNELL: Joe Klein of "Time" magazine and Robert Draper of "The New
York Times" magazine, thank you both very much for joining me tonight.
KLEIN: My pleasure.
DRAPER: Good to be here.
O`DONNELL: Drew Cline, an editor of "The New Hampshire Union Leader"
was in the room today when Herman Cain met with the newspaper for an hour
to discuss his 13-year relationship with Ginger White. Drew Cline joins me
next to tell us what Herman Cain had to say today.
And later, my exclusive interview with Ginger White.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, our two explosives -- the editorial page editor
of "The New Hampshire Union Leader" who just finished interviewing Herman
Cain. Then, the woman who had a 13-year relationship with Cain, Ginger
White, will give us her reaction to Herman Cain`s interview today in New
O`DONNELL: Herman Cain met with the editors of "The New Hampshire
Union Leader" this afternoon in his first non-FOX News interview since
Ginger White revealed their 13-year friendship which Mr. Cain now fully
acknowledges, but he continued to deny today in New Hampshire he had an
affair with Ginger White.
Cain told the editors his wife Gloria did not know about the
friendship until White went public, and he talked about roughly 70 text
messages sent between White and him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: She didn`t know we were friends.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until she came out.
CAIN: Until she came out with this story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now in a LAST WORD exclusive, Drew Cline,
editorial page editor of "The New Hampshire Union Leader."
Drew, I just have to ask you right off the bat, anybody in that room
believe Herman Cain?
DREW CLINE, THE NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER: You know, I think we`re
going to withhold judgment on that and let the viewers decide for
themselves when they see the video. But --
O`DONNELL: Thank you for your laughter. I think that helps us as
much as anything else you could have said.
How did -- why did he do this? Doesn`t he know that you`ve already
endorsed Newt Gingrich and he`s running at, like, single digits in New
Hampshire with no chance?
CLINE: You`d have to ask him why he agreed to do this. I think he`s
reassessing his campaign. He said he was reassessing whether he would go
to a small-state-only strategy or continue with a small-state national
strategy. So, perhaps this was a chance for him to clear things up in
front of New Hampshire voters.
O`DONNELL: And in what I`ve just seen of the interview, you actually
asked him how much money changed hands over the years.
O`DONNELL: And he said that he wouldn`t answer it on the advice of
counsel. Was his lawyer in the room with him?
CLINE: No, his lawyer wasn`t in the room.
O`DONNELL: Have you ever had at an editorial board meeting with the
presidential candidate, have you ever had one say, I cannot answer that
question on the advice of my criminal lawyer?
CLINE: I don`t think so. That would be a first for me.
But what was also interesting is that I asked him, did your wife know
you were giving this woman money? And he said no. Not only did she not
know that he was giving money to this woman, but she never knew the woman
existed. And I think that was a very interesting revelation.
He said he had a 13-year relationship with Ginger White, never told
his wife once that this person existed. This person was a friend of his,
and he was giving her money. Such an amount of money that his lawyer has
advised him not to disclose what it was, and he never once had a
conversation with his wife about it.
O`DONNELL: His wife now seems fully empowered in terms of what
happens next in his campaign. Did he tell you that it was up to her
essentially if he goes forward?
CLINE: He had an interesting way of putting it. He said -- we asked
him about that. He said, "My wife would not ask me to quit the campaign.
It`s something she just wouldn`t do. But if I judged that it was in her
best interests for me to quit, then I would do that."
O`DONNELL: And before any of these troubles, he was polling at 4
percent in New Hampshire, a hopeless position in New Hampshire before he
got into these troubles. He could not have gone up since then. Do you
expect to see him back in New Hampshire? You`ve been exposed to a lot of
presidential candidates up there. Did this feel to you like his last trip
to New Hampshire and probably his last week as a candidate?
CLINE: It did. I would expect sometime between Sunday and Tuesday
that the GOP will probably be down one candidate.
O`DONNELL: He told you that this is the weekend where he goes back to
Atlanta, and he`s going to be sitting down with the wife. And did he give
you any indication of how he expects that conversation to go?
CLINE: No, he didn`t. But I think he`s going to have a lot of
interesting explaining to do. You know, when we asked him, you know, I
asked him, you know, this is kind of a nightmare for a prominent
businessman, you know, a prominent man to have a woman come forward and
make these allegations. How did your paths cross?
And he explained that he had met her at a conference in Louisville,
Kentucky. And since he didn`t have an entourage at that time way back
then, that this woman got his cell phone number, and that`s where things
began. And so we asked him, you know, you said yesterday that they were,
you know, sort of bringing these things out to hurt you. Who`s "they"?
And this was, I think, a very telling answer. He said he had -- only
speculation, no proof -- but he believed there was a network of people who
were interested in preventing him from being the nominee so he could
challenge President Obama and that this network of people he needed to root
out. And so, he could clear his name.
I think that`s going to take a lot of explanation for his wife and for
O`DONNELL: Were all of you editors able to keep a straight face
throughout the interview?
CLINE: Oh, sure.
O`DONNELL: You`re such professionals. Drew Cline of the "New
Hampshire Union Leader" -- thank you very much for joining me tonight.
CLINE: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, my exclusive interview with Ginger White.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, an exclusive interview with the woman who had a
13-year relationship with Herman Cain. We`ll get her reaction to what Cain
said about her in his interview with "The New Hampshire Union Leader"
And she will produce the phone records demanded by Herman Cain`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: Someone offered her a lot of money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
CAIN: I was helping her with month-to-month bills and expenses.
Somebody -- this is speculation only --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
CAIN: I have no proof -- offered her a lot of money. And one of my
objectives is to clear my name and my reputation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Herman Cain in New Hampshire today. Joining me
now, the woman at the center of the latest Herman Cain controversy, Ginger
White, who this week revealed her 13-year relationship with Herman Cain.
She is joined by her lawyer, Edward Buckley. Thank you both very much for
joining me tonight.
GINGER WHITE, FRIEND OF HERMAN CAIN: Thank you.
EDWARD BUCKLEY, ATTORNEY FOR GINGER WHITE: Thank you for having us.
O`DONNELL: Ginger White, Herman Cain has said tonight that he
believes you were offered a very large amount of money to come out and tell
this story. Is that why you`re telling this story?
WHITE: Absolutely not. No one has offered me anything. So that is -
- that is false.
O`DONNELL: He knows you well. What does it feel like for you to see
him talking about you that way?
WHITE: It`s very hurtful, very hurtful.
O`DONNELL: Now he has acknowledged that he has known you for 13
years. He calls it a 13-year friendship. And so the difference that we`re
-- that`s being argued over right is what was the nature of that
friendship, and you`re saying it was -- involved a romantic affair that was
on and off over those 13 years.
When you hear Herman Cain in every interview he`s given -- he gave one
on Fox News the other night, and then tonight -- essentially calling you a
liar, how does that make you feel?
WHITE: Well, it doesn`t make me feel very good. However, at the end
of the day, I know that I am telling the truth. I would never come out
with something like this if it wasn`t true. Honestly, I didn`t want to
come out with this. And I know that travel was involved and sex was
involved. I would never lie about that.
O`DONNELL: Now Herman Cain`s lawyer has demanded that you reveal the
phone records that you have.
You have supplied us with some phone records here of October and
November of this year, 37 text messages in the October records and one
phone call on October 18th; 46 text messages in November, with no phone
calls in the records on November, a total of 83 text messages over that
period of time.
It -- that`s a -- that is a high number by anyone`s count. And Herman
Cain is suggesting that that was about nothing other than you texting him,
asking for help with the rent and maybe car payments.
WHITE: Pretty much that`s true. Our relationship had faded. Our
sexual relationship had faded out a bit, which I was very fine with, and so
the last 2.5 years, yes. We would text back and forth. He would help me
Most times he would be traveling, and when there were several texts,
it was just he and I trying to get our schedules together to where we could
meet and he would, you know, help me out with money for bills and various
things. So, yes, that is correct.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Herman Cain`s description in New Hampshire
today about how you met.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
H. CAIN: We met years ago at a conference that she was one of the
organizers and I was a keynote speaker, a keynote speaker at a conference
in Louisville, Kentucky. That`s already out there, many, many years ago,
and because I didn`t have an entourage when I was traveling around giving
keynote speeches, she had my contact information. So she stayed in touch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: What`s your reaction to that?
WHITE: Well, we did meet in Louisville, Kentucky, at the Black
Achievers -- at a function there. And the thing is, I -- he gave me his
contact information. I didn`t already have it. I didn`t get it from
anyone else but Mr. Cain. As a matter of fact, shortly after that meeting,
we -- he flew me to Palm Springs, California. So I think that he is, you
know, telling just parts of the truth.
O`DONNELL: And when he flew you to Palm Springs, California, is that
where the romantic relationship began?
WHITE: Yes, it did.
O`DONNELL: And do you know who paid for that plane ticket? We`ve
actually asked the restaurant association that he was working for whether
they were paying for your plane tickets, and they are telling us that they
don`t have expense receipts going back that long.
WHITE: I have no idea. I have no idea.
O`DONNELL: And when you traveled with him at other times, did you
ever fly with him to -- were you ever on the same plane with him?
WHITE: No, I would always meet him. He would send me the ticket, and
I would meet him at whatever location he was staying at.
O`DONNELL: And did and of your family and friends know that you were
jetting off to meet Herman Cain somewhere?
WHITE: My family knew, as I have two sisters. And either my sisters
would keep my kids for the weekend. I wanted to make sure that my kids
were safe and they were in good hands. And, yes, my sisters, my brother
and my mother were aware of this relationship.
O`DONNELL: I`d like you to listen to Herman Cain today. I think we
have this sound of him today, discussing the question of exactly how much
money he gave you over the years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much money did you give her?
H. CAIN: Well, I -- because of my attorney and because of some things
that we are looking at, I can`t talk about that at this particular point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I can tell you, Ginger White, that that is not a common
answer in interviews with presidential candidates, "I can`t answer because
of my lawyer tells me not to." Can you remember or tell us what you think
the total amounts of money or in a given year what -- how much money he
would end up giving you to help you get by?
WHITE: Honestly, I`d rather not say. I don`t have an exact amount.
So I -- you know, I`m just not sure exactly.
O`DONNELL: Did he give you that money in cash?
WHITE: Yes. He did.
O`DONNELL: Always in cash?
WHITE: Always in cash.
O`DONNELL: And he said that he has given -- he has helped other
people this way. Has he -- did he ever discuss with you helping other
people in a similar way?
WHITE: He never -- and a similar way would be sleeping with a person
and then helping them financially. That`s how he was helping me, so I
can`t say that he ever said that, no.
O`DONNELL: When you heard the stories that came out about the charges
of sexual harassment, in particular when you heard the story of the woman
who met Herman Cain under similar circumstances to yours at an event, where
he was speaking.
And then she later found herself in a car with him in Washington, and
he became very physically aggressive with her, did that sound like the
Herman Cain that you knew?
WHITE: Herman Cain was never aggressive with me in that manner or any
manner at all. The way they met, possibly, you know, there may have been
He is a very friendly person. He is funny. He has a personality
that, you know, he enjoys meeting people and, yes, I`m sure -- I`m not
exactly sure what her situation was and how they met, but if it was a
social function similar to mine, then, yes, it made me think, wow. Funny.
O`DONNELL: In your intimate time together, did he find himself
discussing his family with you?
WHITE: We never discussed his family, no.
O`DONNELL: And he never discussed his wife?
WHITE: He mentioned her name a couple of times, just in passing, you
know, maybe very random conversations. But it was never anything that we
really spent a whole lot of time on.
O`DONNELL: And Atlanta`s not the biggest town in the world. Did you
ever run into her, ever in a -- the same store together or see her at a
restaurant or anything like that?
WHITE: No. No, never. And I never really knew what she looked like
until, you know, she was appearing on the television with Herman. So I
never knew what she looked like.
O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at that. We have a clip of her when she
appeared, discussing these charges against Herman Cain. Let`s look at
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLORIA CAIN, WIFE OF HERMAN CAIN: There were such ugly things said.
And I kept thinking, who are these people talking about? This isn`t
I know the person that he is. And I know that the person that they
were talking about, I don`t know who that person is. And we`ve been
married for 43 years. And if I haven`t seen part of that person in 43
years, I don`t think I`m that simple that I would miss something that
I keep going back to -- now in the beginning, I started thinking in my
mind, could I have missed something? But then I always go back to the
beginning. No, I`m not missing anything. I know Herman. I know him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ginger, how did you feel when you saw her give that
WHITE: I never saw the interview. And just listening to that, you
never really know a person, obviously. And that`s really all I have to say
on that. I`m -- I would be surprised if she is surprised by this, honestly
speaking. I would be surprised.
O`DONNELL: Is there anything you would like to say to Gloria Cain
O`DONNELL: All right...
WHITE: I have -- I have no comment.
O`DONNELL: OK. We`re going to take a break here, Ginger White and
her attorney, Edward Buckley, please stay with us. We`re going to be back
with more after this break.
O`DONNELL: And we`re back with Ginger White, who this week revealed
her 13-year relationship with Herman Cain. She is joined by her lawyer,
Ginger, I wanted you to listen to what Herman Cain said today in this
interview about how the future of his campaign is essentially up to his
wife. Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If your wife asks you to please get out, are you
HERMAN CAIN, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
CAIN: But my wife wouldn`t ask me to get out. She wouldn`t ask me to
get out. I would make a decision based upon how all of this stuff is
affecting her, because I will put her first. But she`s not the type to say
you ought to get out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ginger, give us some insight into this man. What I`m
hearing there is a man who at first is saying yes, instantaneously yes, if
my wife wants me out, I`m out.
But then, he tries to keep control of the situation by saying, "My
wife would never ask me to do that," if I get out, it really will be my
decision. I mean, I`m hearing a guy who`s trying to have both sides of
this at the same time. Is that, in your experience, a common way Herman
Cain responds to things?
WHITE: Herman is definitely a person that knows what he wants, and he
goes after it. And I would really be surprised if there was ever any
situation that someone else called the shots for him. He just has -- his
personality, as far as when he has been with me, has been -- he`s very sure
of himself and, you know, I would like to actually make this comment.
Before the commercial break, you asked me, you know, what would I say
to Ms. Cain, and you are the first person that`s asked that question, so it
really took me aback, because I am not a cold-hearted person. I`m a mother
of two kids.
And of course, my heart bleeds for this woman because I am a woman and
being in a situation like this cannot be fun. And I am deeply, deeply
sorry if I have caused any hurt to her and to his kids, to his family.
That was not my intention. I never wanted to hurt anyone. And I`m deeply
sorry. I`m very sorry.
O`DONNELL: Well, Ginger, I`m glad the commercial break gave you a
chance to think about that. And just as we talk here, please feel free to
go back and add to any answer you give.
I know you`re not someone who`s been doing television interviews your
whole life, and so I just want you to be comfortable and interrupt me at
any point that you want to when there`s something you want to say, or
something you want to add.
Is it -- is it your sense that knowing Herman the way you do, that he
will have a conversation with his wife this weekend? And knowing
everything you know about this, where it stands right now, what do you
think he will decide to do?
WHITE: You know, I`m really not quite sure. I do believe him when he
says he will have that discussion. He has never appeared to be a quitter.
He, you know, is a person that pretty much, as I said, goes after whatever
However, I will -- whatever decision is made, I will respect that
decision. As I`ve said many times before, this has never been political.
This has been a very, very difficult situation for me, for my family, his
family. It`s been very tough. So whatever decision the Cain family makes
is their decision and I will respect that decision. I have -- I will
O`DONNELL: Herman Cain has described you as desperate. He`s said
that you`ve obviously, he believes, doing this for money. He`s also said
that he has absolutely no evidence of that, which is kind of a trademark of
his, saying things that he has no evidence for.
But let`s get back to why you did reveal this, and I`m going to just
kind of quickly track for you my understanding of it. It`s that word had
leaked out, your sisters knew about it, some friends of yours knew about it
over the years, and someone had let local media know about it, probably
somewhere in your network of friends, or who knows.
And local media was closing in on you with questions and the local
affiliate in Atlanta was going to go with a story about this, whether you
cooperated or not. And it was only at that point -- this is my
understanding -- it was only at that point that you decided to do an
interview with that television station.
WHITE: That`s correct. I was -- there was a leak, several leaks, I`m
not exactly sure who, what, you know, how that came to be. I was very
concerned. I was very worried, because I didn`t want my life to be thrown
out there in front of everyone.
I do lead a very -- a pretty private life. I mean, I -- I`m a very
simple person. And I didn`t want to hurt his family. I didn`t want to
hurt anyone. And so when this -- you know, when I was getting these phone
calls and things like that, it was just really, really tough. It was a
tough decision. Many sleepless nights, many sleepless nights, many tears
And I had to sit my kids down. I have a daughter that`s 20 and my son
is 18. And you can`t imagine how tough that conversation was to share
something so personal, so private.
And also inappropriate, you know, when I`m trying to teach my kids to
do the right thing, and here I`m having to sit down and look at them and
say, you know what? Mommy really screwed up, and I hope that you can
forgive me. I hope you understand. And I hope you will support this
And I talked with my family and they`re very supportive, as it`s been
tough. It`s been very tough on everyone involved. So this was not, again,
something that I wanted to come out with. And I have not received a dime
for any of this. I just wouldn`t do that.
O`DONNELL: To get back to your relationship with Herman Cain, which
he now says was just a friendship and you`ve told us it was not that, it
was a romantic relationship, in effect, an affair during 13 years of his
marriage. How strongly -- describe your feelings for each other at the
peak of this affair? Did Herman Cain tell you he loved you?
WHITE: Never. And nor did I tell him that I loved him. It wasn`t a
love affair. It was a sexual affair, as hard as that is for me to say and
as hard as it is for people to hear it. You know, it pretty much is what
it is. And that`s what it was.
O`DONNELL: And I assume he was a fun guy. He`s a -- he bursts into
song and he seems like a pretty funny guy. It was a -- so I`m getting the
feeling it was a lighthearted, easy going, fun affair as far as it went
with no expectations on either end.
WHITE: Exactly. You know, when I met Herman, I entered into this
relationship, friendship, pretty much knowing, you know, number one, what
you`re doing is wrong, and number two, I was very intrigued. He`s a very
intelligent man. He is very fun loving.
And he offered me a getaway -- you know, a getaway from the -- you
know, the normal day-to-day, you know, hustle and bustle. And so he would
send me tickets and he would fly me off, and we`d have a pretty simple
weekend. And I`d return back home. He`d go back to his home, and we would
-- you know, I would go on with my life as normal. So it was pretty
O`DONNELL: When you were in Atlanta, did you carry on romantically in
WHITE: We had a few times, yes.
O`DONNELL: And how did you do that in Atlanta? Were hotel rooms
involved? Would there be records of that?
WHITE: Hotel rooms. I have no record of it. So, but yes, hotel
rooms and there was just a few times here in Atlanta. There, again, it was
mostly in the very beginning that it was pretty consistent for a while
And then when I -- last, you know, couple of years, as I said, we, you
know, met a couple of times sexually. Now we would have lunch. We would
have a dinner, something like that. But this by no means was a love
affair. And as I said, it was just a casual, inappropriate affair.
O`DONNELL: But it was certainly a friendship; you would agree with at
least that characterization that Herman Cain has given it?
WHITE: You know, I thought -- I thought we were friends, and he made
a comment to me -- and he laughed after, so he may have just only been
joking, but I said, wow, running for president, that`s pretty major. And I
said, I guess we won`t be friends anymore, huh? He was like, "Yeah,
probably not." I was like, wow. OK. At least you were honest.
So you know, it -- he obviously was a friend, because he helped me.
So -- but at what level, I don`t know.
O`DONNELL: Now that you`ve heard him, in your view, lie about you
publicly, if you could talk to Herman Cain tonight, what would you say to
WHITE: That I honestly can`t believe that, you know, I mean, it`s --
it was very hard for me to come out with this and, you know, fess up to
something that I had done. I -- I`m pretty straightforward and, you know,
I have a conscience. And it just -- I`m surprised that he hasn`t -- that
he`s treating me as if I`m lying about this. That does bother me. It
bothers me, yes.
O`DONNELL: Ginger White, thank you very, very much for joining us
tonight, and your attorney, Edward Buckley, thank you also for helping us
with this interview tonight. Thank you both. I really appreciate your
WHITE: Thank you.
Thank you very much.
O`DONNELL: You can find the entirety of this interview on our website
tonight, TheLastWord.MSNBC.com. We`ll be back.
O`DONNELL: Ginger White gets tonight`s LAST WORD. You can see my
full interview with Ginger White on THE LAST WORD online at our blog,
TheLastWord.MSNBC.com. And you can follow my Tweets @Lawrence.
"THE ED SHOW" is up next.
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