Republican presidential contender Herman Cain has modified his response to the multiple sexual harassment allegations that plague him. Lately, he has responded forcefully to specific accusations and has been unequivocal in his refutation of the allegations.
Cain is sending strong messages to his base. Among them: He alone is in charge of his crisis response, he can stand the heat and no accusation will alter his version of the events in question. For Cain's base, it's the personal stance and style of delivery that marks him as a strong leader. In this respect, Cain is moving in the right direction.
After Sharon Bialek came forward publicly to accuse Cain of sexual harassment in a Nov. 7 press conference, Cain appeared on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live that night and said, "There's not an ounce of truth in all of these accusations."
Another woman, Karen Kraushaar, spoke out the morning of Nov. 8 after her identity had been leaked to the media. Kraushaar had been one of the two women referred to in Politico's original reporting on Cain's alleged history of sexual harassment while heading the National Restaurant Association.
At a news conference in Phoenix on the afternoon of Nov. 8, Cain struck back against the accusations. “I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period,” Cain said at the press conference. “The charges and the accusations I absolutely reject. They simply didn’t happen.”
This tactic has carried over to Cain's campaign Web site. In his Nov. 9 blog post, Cain writes, “I have touched on this before—the emphasis on gaffes, gotcha questions and time devoted to trivial nonsense—and everyone knows the process only became further detached from relevance this week as the media published anonymous, ancient, vague personal allegations against me.”
Whether or not Cain makes it to the Republican National Convention, he is cementing his personal brand with his target audience, and it will pay off for him one way or another in the long run.