Herman Cain has a Mark Block problem.
Block is the chief of staff of the Cain campaign. And in a recent interview, Block insisted that he wasn’t backing off the accusation the Rick Perry campaign was responsible for leaking the sexual harassment story to Politico. “No, no, I will not back off of the Perry thing… I’m not backing off on the Perry thing. I backed off on the guy [consultant Curt Anderson], because he came out and said that it wasn’t him. But I’m still not backing off that the pot wasn’t stirred by the Perry folks.”
Here’s the problem: Block has still not produced a shred of credible evidence that the Perry campaign was behind the leak. He’s simply making a charge, based on a wish and a hope, presumably in order to re-direct attention away from Cain to Perry. And Block not only fingered the Perry campaign, but fingered Perry’s political strategist Curt Anderson. But when Anderson went on the air and declared that Politico reporters were freed from any confidentiality agreement in order to prove he wasn’t the source for the story, Block had to reel back his charge against Anderson.
Block’s assertion also complicates matters for Cain, who insisted at his press conference earlier this week that the “Democratic machine” is behind the sexual harassment charges. So the Cain campaign has charged both the Rick Perry campaign and the “Democratic machine” with being behind the charges against Cain – even as they’ve provided no evidence to support either charge, which happen to be mutually exclusive.
This embarrassing mistake shouldn’t be confused with the one Block made when he declared that the son of Karen Kraushaar, who has accused Cain of sexual harassment, works at Politico. “We’ve confirmed that he does indeed work at Politico and that’s his mother, yes,” Block said.
Here’s the thing, though: Block was referring to former Politico reporter Josh Kraushaar, who left for National Journal last year. And more importantly,
Josh Kraushaar is not related to Karen Kraushaar. They simply share the same last name. So Mark Block is in the habit of throwing out unfounded accusations and smears, replicating exactly the tactic that Herman Cain complains is being used against him. (Block now admits “we didn’t have our facts straight” regarding the charge against Kraushaar. But just how hard were those facts to get straight in the first place?)
If these reckless actions bother Cain, it’s not at all evident. According to the Washington Times, Block is staying put with the Cain campaign. A highly placed Cain source sent an e-mail saying this about the rumors that Block may be sacked: “‘This is a hysterically funny rumor. The Inside the Beltway crowd is in the midst of a nervous breakdown regarding the success the Cain campaign is having with the American people. Mr. Cain believes in the old adage, ‘You continue to dance with the one that brung ya’ to the dance.’”
Maybe. But it’s reasonable for the rest of us to judge a man by the character and professionalism of the individuals whom he brung to the dance.