GOP strategist: Cain using me as a 'pawn'

Republican strategist Curt Anderson on Thursday forcefully denied accusations that he’s the source of a story revealing sexual harassment allegations that were lobbed at presidential hopeful Herman Cain during his time as head of the National Restaurant Association.

In an interview on CNN’s American Morning, Anderson called Cain’s effort to point the finger at him “pathetic,” disputing the candidate’s claim that Anderson was made aware of the accusations by Cain himself back in 2003.

“I didn’t know anything about this and it’s hard to leak something you don’t know anything about,” said Anderson. “The second problem is, if somebody tells you something in confidence … and then you go out and blab it to other people—that’s just unethical and that’s not the way I live my life.”

On Wednesday, Cain claimed he had told Anderson about the harassment claims in 2003. At the time, Anderson was working on Cain’s Senate campaign. Now a partner at the Republican firm On Message Inc., Anderson was hired by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign as part of Perry’s staff shakeup last month.

That, say both Cain and Cain’s campaign manager Mark Block, is why they’re pointing the finger at Anderson and the Perry camp.

“The fingerprints of the Perry campaign are all over this,” Cain said during a tele-townhall event Wednesday night. Cain campaign manager Mark Block made the same accusation during an interview with Fox News calling the Perry camp “despicable.”

For its part, the Perry campaign has vigorously denied that it played a role in the story that ran in Politico over the weekend

“When candidates get into a firestorm like this, sometimes they get unraveled and it seems to me that they’re grasping at straws and fishing around trying to figure out how to get out of this,” Anderson said of the Cain campaign on CNN Thursday.

As for Cain himself, Anderson called him “a tremendous guy” and repeatedly complimented his former client during the interview despite expressing his frustration about the allegations Cain has directed at him.

“I’m disappointed that he tried to use me as a pawn to try to get him out of his mess that he’s in,” Anderson said. “But I’m not going to let that color everything I know about him.”

Anderson isn’t the only prominent Republican strategist thrust into the middle of Cain’s campaign scandal. GOP pollster Chris Wilson told an Oklahoma radio station Wednesday that he witnessed an incident of sexual harassment involving Cain and a woman at a Virginia restaurant in the 1990s. Wilson polls for a Super PAC that supports Perry’s campaign.  

The Cain campaign has yet to respond to Wilson’s allegation.

“You have a situation here where Mr. Cain is saying people are falsely accusing him,” said Anderson “and so the last thing that he ought to do is falsely accuse somebody else.”  

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