“Mr. Cain has been informed today that your television station plans to broadcast a story this evening in which a female will make an accusation that she engaged in a 13-year long physical relationship with Mr. Cain. This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace – this is not an accusation of an assault – which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate. 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. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public’s right to know and the media’s right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one’s bedroom door. Mr. Cain has alerted his wife to this new accusation and discussed it with her. He has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media.”
—Attorney Lin Wood, on behalf of his client Herman Cain, in a statement to Fox News in response to its interview with a Georgia woman, Ginger White, who says she had a 13 year adulterous relationship with the Republican presidential contender.
Sorry, Mr. Wood. You are dead, dead wrong.
Extra-marital affairs, especially recent ones, are absolutely relevant to a man’s fitness to be President of the United States. They are relevant to character, especially trustworthiness and honesty. Adultery is a betrayal, and a betrayal of a person whom the individual has vowed to honor for a lifetime. It not only proves a willingness to lie for personal advantage, but to lie a lot, and to be good at it. A 13-year affair requires thousands of lies. Since Cain is apparently denying White’s story, he may be lying now, this time to the American public as well as his wife. Lying to the public is a bad habit for a President. The public has a right to know if Cain suffers from it.
Extra-marital affairs prove arrogance and a willingness to abuse power. Cain used his position to pursue the relationship, if there was one, and coordinated it with official travel. This is unprofessional, and a misuse of an official position. The fact that Cain would run for president while an undisclosed affair was still ongoing also shows terrible judgment and blatant irresponsibility…and is redolent of the despicable John Edwards. Moreover, it is certainly not unrelated to the allegations of sexual harassment against Cain, flimsy as many of them are. The combination of one affair with multiple alleged incidents of workplace harassment raises the real possibility that Cain is a sexual predator. If one “consensual relationship” is not the public’s concern, are two? Six? Occurring at the same time? We need to know. This isn’t an invasion of privacy. This is national preservation. We need a President we can trust. If his wife can’t trust him, neither should we.
Sorry Lin. Sorry Herman. We learned this lesson (if we hadn’t learned it already) with Bill Clinton. Sexual misconduct and marital infidelity are relevant to leadership, do reveal important aspects of character, and are definitely the public’s business.
Cain’s lawyer’s statement isn’t one of principle, but one of convenience.