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Cain denies affair with woman on CNN's "Situation Room"

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THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news

WOLF BLITZER, HOST: All right, we're just learning from Herman Cain himself that a third woman is about to come out and make some serious accusations against him. We all know the first two women...

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.

BLITZER: -- accusing you of sexual harassment.

CAIN: Right.

BLITZER: What can you tell us about this third woman who is about to going public and accuse you of what?

CAIN: This particular individual, which will be named in the story, as we understand it -- my attorney has talked with the reporter who is going to come out with this story.

This individual is going to accuse me of an affair for an extended period of time. I don't want to specify, because I don't know what's in the story.

Secondly, it is someone that I know who is an acquaintance that I thought we are a friend. That much I do know.

But other than that, Wolf, when we dealt with the previous allegations and I went forward, went in front of the public and said they're false and they're baseless, we did -- we were reacting to what we knew.

At this point, I'm just simply saying these are going to come out. And until we know what they are, then my attorney doesn't know what to respond to.

Those are the -- all of the details that I have.

Now, given that, I know that the court of public opinion is going to formulate its own opinion. I can't control people who are going to make a decision based upon accusations. When specifics are made, through my attorney, because we are trying to run a campaign. Were trying to connect with the people on the issues. Through my attorney, we will respond to every detail and every allegation. But I just wanted to give you a heads-up and your audience a heads-up, here we go again.

BLITZER: Because we have learned -- and I knew this a while ago, earlier in the day, that an Atlanta TV station has been saying they've got explosive new information...

CAIN: Yes.

BLITZER: -- that could shake up the national race for the Republican presidential nomination.

So what I understand you saying is that this Atlanta TV station...

CAIN: Yes.

BLITZER: -- has been in touch with you and your attorneys...

CAIN: Yes.

BLITZER: -- and has told you what they have. And they've asked for your response.

CAIN: Right. But they haven't given us all of the information they're going to put in the story. So we don't have...

BLITZER: What did they say to you?

CAIN: They just said, you know, they -- they mentioned the name of the individual...

BLITZER: And you know this woman?

CAIN: And I do know who -- who she is. And they mentioned what the accusation is going to be. But until the story comes out, I'm not at liberty to respond to something, at this point.

Now, when the story breaks, through my attorney, Lin Wood, of Atlanta, Georgia, we will respond.

We chased all of these other rumors for two weeks before. And as it turned out, they were baseless.

Why?

Because they weren't able to come up with any documentation, any proof or anything that was credible.

And so we will address these when they come out. But at this point, I just wanted to give you a heads-up. I don't have anything to hide. And we will address every one of the details as we know them.

BLITZER: Well, tell us the nature of your relationship with this woman.

CAIN: Friend and trying to help a friend because not having a job, etc. And this sort of thing. That's all there is to the relationship.

And here again, I don't know what's going to be claimed in the story. It was someone who was supposed to be a friend, but, obviously, they didn't see it as a friendship.

BLITZER: And when you say friend, was it an a -- I mean I'm asking. These are awkward questions, but I'll ask you the questions you're going to be asked.

Was this an affair?

CAIN: No, it was not.

BLITZER: There was no sex?

CAIN: No.

BLITZER: None?

CAIN: No.

BLITZER: And if this woman says there is, she's lying, is that what you're...

CAIN: Well, Wolf, let's see what the story is going to be. I don't want to get into, you know, being pinned down on some things until we see what the story is going to be.

BLITZER: Because -- but they basically gave you the outlines, this Atlanta television station...

CAIN: They gave my attorney the outline. And so I'm now speaking secondhand in terms of what I know about the story. When we know the story, we will respond.

BLITZER: So basically, from what I hear you saying and what this Atlanta TV station has been teasing for the past hour or so, is that a woman is going to come forward and say she had an affair -- and affair with you.

CAIN: This is the understanding that we have, through my attorney, about what's going to be said.

BLITZER: What a -- what -- without giving us her name, tell what was she like?

I mean tell us a little bit -- something about this woman...

CAIN: No.

BLITZER: -- the nature of the friendship.

CAIN: No, I'm not going to do that, Wolf. It would be premature.

BLITZER: Did you work with her?

CAIN: No. Wolf, that would be premature because just like I'm concerned about someone slandering my reputation and image, until I know exactly what the claims are, I'm not going comment on those claims, unfortunately.

BLITZER: So but this -- as you understand it, the two women who accused you of sexual harassment. Now a third woman potentially coming out and saying she had an affair with you...

CAIN: And remember that the first two were baseless. They were false accusations. They were not able to prove it. And I went before the media and the public and said here's what I know, here are the facts. And people will have to make that judgment as to whether or not they believe me or believe them.

The same is true of the one that is supposed to be reported on later today.

BLITZER: Because this is a woman you never worked with. The other two you did work with.

CAIN: No. One of the other ones I worked with. The second one that came out, I don't recall ever working with.

BLITZER: The one from Chicago, you mean?

CAIN: The one from Chicago, I recall -- the one from Chicago, I never remembered who she was, her name or working with her. The one at the National Restaurant Association, I do remember working with her.

BLITZER: Why would this woman in Atlanta be coming out right now and making these charges, these accusations?

CAIN: I can only conjecture and I'm not going to do that, Wolf, until we know what it is I'm being accused of.

BLITZER: Well, obviously, she's going to say she had an affair with you...

CAIN: Probably.

BLITZER: -- and we'll see what else, if anything else, she says.

CAIN: Right.

BLITZER: So we'll watch it unfold.

Are you worried this could further hurt you in this Republican race for the White House?

CAIN: I'm more worried that this is going to hurt my wife and my family, because it's going to be proved that it was probably something else that was baseless. And the court of public opinion does not consider that when they want to pass that judgment.

I can take the lumps. I expected this kind of stuff when I made the decision to run for the president of the United States of America. But the thing that I'm worried about is the impact it's going to have on my wife and my family, because they should not be subjected to false accusations that cannot be proved.

BLITZER: Have you spoken to your wife and family about this?

CAIN: Yes, I have. I have spoken to my wife.

BLITZER: How did -- how did they react?

CAIN: My wife's reaction was very similar to mine. Here we go again. And when I told her what little information that I knew about it, her response was the same as mine. And that was, here we go again. We will basically show, when the details become available, that I didn't do anything wrong.

BLITZER: Do you expect other women to be coming out and making similar kinds of accusations?

CAIN: I don't...

BLITZER: Is there any evidence...

CAIN: None...

BLITZER: Is there any indication that...

CAIN: Not...

BLITZER: -- that there are some others out there?

CAIN: None that I know of. I mean, think about it, Wolf. You go through life and you believe that you have some people that are friends. And when someone that appears to be a friend turns around and concocts this story, you've got to question, the hundreds of thousands of people that I have met in my life?

A hundred thousand people could possibly come out.

Do I know of any that might come out?

Not off the top of my head. But you have to look at my entire life and wonder, it's probably an infinite number of people who could come forward with a story.

So I can't possibly say that somebody else might not come up with it. But so far, they've all been found baseless.

BLITZER: Does your wife know this woman in Georgia?

CAIN: No.

BLITZER: Nobody in your family knows this woman?

CAIN: No.

BLITZER: How long did you know her as a friend?

CAIN: I won't get into that, Wolf, because it's all premature.

BLITZER: But you're staying in this race?

You're not dropping out?

CAIN: I'm not dropping out of this race, no. As long as my wife is behind me, and as long as my wife believes that I should stay in this race, I'm staying in this race, because I am sick and tired of the hurt and harm that somebody out there is doing to my family, more so to me, with these baseless -- these baseless charges.

See, what this says is, is that somebody is awfully afraid that I'm doing too well in this Republican nomination to continue to dig up these stories to try and put a cloud and a damper on my campaign. We are going to stay focused on this campaign.

BLITZER: Is there a racial element, do you believe, because none of the other candidates have had these kinds of sexual harassment or affair relationships emerging in the last few months.

CAIN: The...

BLITZER: Is there something else, in your mind, that's going on here, targeting Herman Cain?

CAIN: There could be. But I can't say for certain. And I haven't spent a lot of time trying to analyze whether or not it was some put ---something that is racially motivated.

I want to stay focused on this campaign, our trifecta -- fixing this economy, the national strategy that I'm going to roll out tomorrow at the Hillsdale College. And then in a week or so, we have a dynamite energy independence strategy that worker going to be rolling out.

This is what we've been focusing on, which is why I want to continue to focus on that, which is why any details that come out we're going to handle them through my attorney, Lin Wood.

BLITZER: And all -- and throughout all this, these weeks now that these sexual harassment allegations and now this new allegation, have you ever said to yourself, you know what, it's not worth it, it's not worth running for the Republican presidential nomination, maybe I should drop out?

CAIN: What I have said is, why?

And I come back to, it's for the grandkids. That's number one.

BLITZER: What's for the grandkids.

CAIN: Running for president.

BLITZER: For your grandkids?

CAIN: My grand -- all the grandkids. That's why I'm doing this, for the grandkids. So that's the number one -- when I -- have said, why am I putting myself through this?

The answer is for my grandkids and all of the other grandkids out there, to leave them a nation as good as or better than the one that we were able to pursue our opportunities.

But then the second reason that I continue to hang in there is because if I drop out because of this kind of mess, as my grandmother would call it, then the system wins. And one of the reasons I'm running is to change the system. And this is one of the aspects of it. It's just the way it is, but I'm not going to allow this sort of thing to cause me to drop out simply because it's tough on me.

I don't want it to be tough on my family. And there comes a point that if it's tough on my family, I have to consider that at that particular point in time.

BLITZER: And you would drop out if it got overwhelmingly tough?

CAIN: I would -- I'll make that decision depending upon the circumstances and how it is impacting my wife and my family. That's my number one concern by all of these accusations.

BLITZER: I've got other questions I want to ask you.

I want to take a quick break.

CAIN: Yes.

BLITZER: But just to recap right now, we're bracing -- we're getting ready and you -- I'll put it in your words, for what?

CAIN: Another accusation that I had an affair with someone, another woman.

BLITZER: Stand by.

We'll continue this conversation.

CAIN: OK.

BLITZER: More with Herman Cain here in THE SITUATION ROOM, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on November 28, 2011 5:47 PM.

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