Atlanta businesswoman Ginger White told Fox 5 Atlanta her 13-year affair with Herman Cain began when he invited her up to his hotel room after a National Restaurant Association event, describing an episode that sounds a bit like what some of the women who accused Cain of sexual harassment have alleged. Except White says she welcomed the sexual advance, and he began flying her to the cities where he was giving speeches. Other times they stayed at the Rtiz Carlton in Buckhead, the fancy part of Atlanta. White says the Cain she knew is just like the Cain on the campaign trail: "Very arrogant in a playful sometimes way. Very, ah -- Herman Cain loves Herman Cain." And she's coming forward because of the way he attacked the women who accused him of sexual harassment, saying, "It bothered me that they were being demonized, sort of, they were treated as if they were automatically lying, and the burden of proof was on them. I felt bad for them."
In a strange interview on CNN Monday, Cain said he would examine any new women accusing him of sexual impropriety "detail by detail, accusation by accusation" through his celebrity lawyer, Lin Wood. But Wood's statement to Fox 5 in Atlanta skips over any denials and tells the press to butt out: "Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults - a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public." Meanwhile, Cain asserted he's "done nothing wrong" and will treat himself to a steak dinner tonight.
Wood's non-denial makes sense given that White has some records to help prove there was some kind of relationship. White showed Fox 5 cell phone bills that she says show calls from Herman Cain's private cell phone. They were made between 4:26 a.m. and 7:52 p.m.; the last of the 61 calls or texts were made in September. The news station texted the number and Cain called back; he said she had his number because he was "trying to help her financially."
The conflict between Cain's and Wood's statements make you wonder if Cain and Wood bothered to talk this thing over before he went on live TV. (Maybe they didn't: Wolf Blitzer learned of the new charges during a commercial break and the candidate agreed to talk about them, the Huffington Post's Michael Calderone reports.) Further, it's not clear that there's a lot of coordination by the campaign staff -- less than an hour after Cain denied he had an affair with the Atlanta woman, the campaign sent out a press release titled, "Cain Train Builds Momentum in Georgia." The email quotes Cain saying, "And as more people hear my common sense approaches to solving the problems we face as a nation today, the more folks want to jump on the Cain Train." During his CNN interview, though, he admitted some folks had decided to "jump off the Cain Train" thanks to the sexual harassment allegations from four other women.
Reactions indicate a lot of people are baffled by Cain's decisions. Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall tweets, "Have to consider possibility that Cain is Newt operative working to make Newt appear less a philanderer in relative terms 50% parody." NBC News' Chuck Todd writes, "This statement from Cain's atty is not helpful to Cain's cause..." Hot Air's Allahpundit tweets, "Cain spent 10 mins denying new charges on CNN; lawyer's statement says Cain won't discuss charges publicly with media #huh" Politico's Ben Smith notes that you can take the none-of-your-beeswax approach only if your partner will go along with it.
This is Ed Koch's answer to questions about his sexuality: He refuses to answer, as a matter of principle on which he will happily enlarge. And it's a pretty good point.
The problem for Cain is that his alleged partner in consensual activity has chosen to go public; that, too, is a matter of consent.
Fox 5 teased video of White going through some documents:
Update 7:02p.m.: Mediaite has the (infuriatingly unembeddable) video.
Update 7:06p.m.: Business Insider posts the interview in two parts:
Update 7:18p.m: The Cain campaign just issued a press release saying it's forced to cancel an appearance in Independence, Ohio (a Cleveland suburb) Wednesday because Mayor Greg Kurtz has revoked the invite.