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Republican candidate accused of sexual harass -

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Possible Republican nominee Herman Cain denies allegations of sexual harassment. The accuser has
now gone public with her story which threatens to derail his campaign.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: A year from today Americans go to the polls to elect a new President. And
at this stage of the political cycle, most of the attention is on who will end up being Barack
Obama's Republican opponent. Until today the frontrunner in the Republican primary was the former
pizza company executive Herman Cain, but a series of damaging sexual harassment allegations has
become even more serious, and now looks set to derail his campaign completely. North America
correspondent Michael Brissenden reports.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN, REPORTER: Herman Cain was the latest Republican contender to steal the
headlines and break to the front of the pack.

HERMAN CAIN, REPUBLICAN: Did I hear you all saying, "Yes, we Cain?" Was I hearing things?

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: But politics, particularly American primary round politics, can be a
rollercoaster ride like no other - and for Herman Cain, you would have to think the ride is now all
but over.

SHARON BIALEK, ALLEGED VICTIM OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: He suddenly reached over and he put his hand on
my leg, under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head and brought it towards
his crotch. I was very, very surprised.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: For a week now, Herman Cain has been defending himself against allegations of
sexual harassment that first surfaced on the Politico website. Until this latest twist, he had been
weathering the storm by accusing one of his Republican opponents of pushing the story, and
castigating the media for running unsourced allegations. Obviously that defence is no longer going
to wash.

MICHAEL CAIN: Don't even go there. Where is my Chief of Staff? Please send him the journalistic
code of ethics.

REPORTER: Mr Cain, why are you not answering these questions?

HERMAN CAIN: What I'm saying is this: We are getting back on message. End of story.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Until now, the Cain campaign had lived by the maxim "no publicity is bad
publicity", enhanced by a creative - some might say unusual - advertising strategy deliberately
designed to attract Internet hits and media coverage. There is now the infamous "smoking man" ad
and, weirder still, this one:

RICH LOWRY, JOURNALIST: Rich Lowry here, chief economic adviser for Herman Cain. Government must
get off our backs, out of our pockets and out of our way.

(Eats a bowl of pasta)

DAVID MARK, POLITICO: There is a lot of speculation that 2012 will finally be the year in which the
traditional 30 second television campaign ads are not as effective, and the main form of political
communication becomes these Internet-only viral ads. Herman Cain... his team certainly has been a
leader in pushing out some very, as you say, "creative" ads. Herman Cain had really tried to test
this notion that you can run a presidential campaign in a different sort of way.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: But the former pizza company CEO had also brought a touch of fast food pop
management philosophy to politics, by condensing complex policy problems into palatable bite-sized
solutions - and the simplest of all is his plan to re-write the national tax code.

HERMAN CAIN: Nine. Nine. Nine.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The plan is to abolish the existing tax code, and replace it with a nine per
cent business tax, nine per cent personal tax and nine per cent sales tax. Not many economists
support the idea, but the marketing had certainly been working for him.

HERMAN CAIN: I am thrilled that it came out at nine-nine-nine, because if 10 per cent is good
enough for God, nine ought to be enough for the Federal Government.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: It is now hard to see how Herman Cain can survive this latest twist in the
sexual harassment scandal. But even if he does, a simple tax plan and a few good one liners
probably won't be enough to see him through the primaries. And despite a struggling economy and
record unemployment, marketing alone probably won't unseat Barack Obama in 2012.

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: Have you been watching the GOP debates?

BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENT: I'm going to wait until everybody is voted off the island. Once they
narrow is down to one or two, I'll start paying attention.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: No one believes that. The White House is of course watching the Republican
contest closely, but like everyone, they've seen one frontrunner after another rise up and flame
out. First there was Michele Bachmann, a Sarah Palin-like Tea Party radical from the Right.

MICHELE BACHMANN, REPUBLICAN: One thing I would say is when you take the nine-nine-nine plan and
you turn it upside down, I think the devil is in the detail.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Then Rick Perry the Texas governor - who has appeared less than coherent at
times during the preliminary debates, and even more so at some party events.

RICK PERRY, TEXAS GOVERNOR: Today has been awesome, girl! This has really been a great day. This is
such a cool state. I mean, come on, live free or die? You gotta love that, right?

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The Republicans are still casting around, it sees. Newt Gingrich, the former
House speaker is the latest to see his poll numbers start to rise, but the White House has already
decided who they will be facing next year, and it's not him.

DAVID PLOUFFE, WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR: You get the sense with Mitt Romney that if he thought he... it
was good to say the sky was green and the grass was blue to win an election, he'd say it. He has no

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is the only one to have
maintained a consistent place at or near the top of the pack, but there is a long way to go yet and
his moderate policy positions are still not a comfortable fit for the current Republican mood.

RICK SANTORUM, REPUBLICAN: You just don't have credibility, Mitt, when it comes to repealing
Obamacare. Your plan was the basis for Obamacare.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The first electoral test for all the Republican candidates comes in January
with the Iowa primary. If Romney does well there, most think he will have the momentum to take
enough of the others and win the nomination. But if history has shown anything, it is that primary
races can be - and usually are - unpredictable.

DAVID MARK: At this point John McCain in 2007/2008 was essentially counted politically dead. He
zoomed up and nabbed his party's notch. So did Barack Obama on the Democratic side. So, no, there
is no assurance that whoever is leading right now, or whoever is behind, will finish that way in
the a few months.

LEIGH SALES: Of course, when the race is so open, we might have to wait quite a lot longer than
Iowa in January to find out who will win the Republican nomination.