Nightly News | November 02, 2011
WILLIAMS: Good evening.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: He is ahead of all the other GOP candidates in several crucial state polls in this early but strange primary season. But tonight, Herman Cain , the CEO turned presidential candidate, is getting the full-bore treatment by the national media. It's because of past charges of sexual harassment in the workplace. They date back to his time with a trade association . And these echoes from his past are making for a bracing chapter in his national campaign. For his part, Cain hasn't made it easier with his own statements and now one woman is mulling apparently, a statement of her own. We want to begin our coverage tonight with NBC 's Lisa Myers in our Washington newsroom. Hey Lisa , good evening.
LISA MYERS reporting: Good evening, Brian . Tonight, a third unidentified employee has come forward telling the Associated Press that she considered filing a complaint about what she thought was aggressive and unwanted behavior by Cain . A spokesman for Cain calls it a baseless allegation. This is the way Herman Cain 's morning went.
Mr. HERMAN CAIN: I'm here with these doctors and that's what I'm going to talk about. So don't even bother asking me all of these other questions that you all are curious about, OK. Don't even bother.
MYERS: When reporters persisted...
Mr. CAIN: Excuse me, excuse me! What part of no don't some people understand?
MYERS: Throughout the day he declined to answer any more questions about the storm engulfing his candidacy.
Offscreen Voice #1: Mr. Cain , would you like to comment on the allegations?
Mr. CAIN: Nope.
MYERS: NBC News has confirmed that two women officially accused Cain of improper sexual conduct while he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s , and that both women received financial settlements. One woman received a full year's salary, 35 to $40,000.
Offscreen Voice #2: Can a man who paid a woman to be quiet, $35,000 be president, sir?
MYERS: Cain also still won't say whether he will ask the National Restaurant Association to release one of his accusers from a confidentiality agreement , which prevents her from speaking freely. The woman's lawyer, Joel Bennett , says she wants to tell her side of the story and that Cain may already have broken the agreement when he disparaged her work performance.
Mr. JOEL BENNETT: I do believe that his remarks are a violation of the confidentiality provision of the settlement agreement .
MYERS: Today, a prominent Republican, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour , urged Cain to waive any confidentiality agreements.
Governor HALEY BARBOUR (Republican, Mississippi): Well, I think the best interest of Herman Cain 's campaign, of everybody is let's get all the facts out.
MYERS: Cain said at one point today that despite all of this, he felt invigorated and that it's all a smear campaign .
Mr. CAIN: There are factions that are trying to destroy me personally, as well as this campaign.
MYERS: And tonight Cain accused an adviser for one of his opponents, Texas Governor Rick Perry , of leaking the initial story that triggered this frenzy.
The Perry adviser denies it. Brian: Lisa Myers starting us of from our DC newsroom tonight. Lisa , thanks.