Four weeks ago Herman Cain was probably feeling pretty good about himself. Polls indicated that the Republican presidential contender was neck and neck with Mitt Romney.
But then he revealed his “9-9-9 Plan” to mixed reviews.
And then last week rumors surfaced that, unless otherwise noted, most of his campaign staff and volunteers are NOT to make eye contact with him unless Cain himself approves (ugh).
Now, the real you-know-what has hit the fan. A new report from Politico alleges that Herman Cain was the subject of sexual harassment claims in the 1990’s during his CEO tenure at the National Restaurant Association.
Despite the fact that he was gaining significant support among voters as recently as a few weeks ago, things may end very badly for Mr. Cain. This could be especially true if he is ultimately pitted against Romney. It would be a tough battle since Romney is mainly viewed as fairly squeaky clean (though Romney himself isn’t perfect – there’s the dog-on-top-of-the-car vacation incident, many accusations of his political flip flopping and his recent denial that he hired illegals to cut his lawn when he was serving as the Governor of our fair state).
One could say that history shows that some politicians can survive scandals such as this. Bill Clinton certainly tops the list. But he was extremely lucky. The country was generally in a mostly positive trend during the time of his presidency, which is likely why his base of support was so incredibly strong.
At this point, I’d say Cain’s ‘reputation temp’ is well below 98.6, and will only continue to sink. I’m curious to hear what other PR pros think though.
It’s always possible he will overcome this, but if we look back at other candidates like Michelle Bachmann, her…umm…unfortunate hot dog incident last summer was the beginning of the end for her (she’s still in the race, but her NH staff quit last week; that’s not a good sign.) And although he wasn’t a presidential contender, no one could ever forget former NY rep Anthony Weiner and how quickly, and rather painfully, his political career ended.
So either Herman Cain has to seriously get his act together, or unfortunately he might be back to selling pizzas sometime in the near future. No matter what the outcome is, it sure will be interesting to watch.