1. The Politico story was poorly explained, and poorly designed. Bob Beckel, a Democrat, said he was stunned that Politico published such an irresponsible piece.
2. Jonathan Martin, the lead writer of the Politico piece, appeared throughout the day on MSNBC and in my opinion did a very poor job. He seemed uncertain, hesitant and unable or unwilling to provide ANY detail about the matter. When asked by one of the anchors what it was that Cain was alleged to have done to these two women, he said "inappropriate comments" . That is not good enough.
Then he somewhat oddly added "there was inappropriate physical contact" which is strange because that allegation appears nowhere in the extensive Politico article.
3. Authoritative people have said that a "settlement" is no evidence of guilt on Cain's part. A Huffington Post article by a retired federal judge makes the point
"I don't know if Herman Cain committed sexual harassment. What I do know is that settlements of law suits including those alleging sexual harassment are not evidence of anything. Law suits are settled everyday because of the embarrassment a trial may bring and the expense of defending. One of the great failures of our judicial system is the cost of justice. Many suits without merit are settled, because it takes too great an expenditure of time and money to defend them. Settlement may well be an admission of guilt, but it is wrong to assume that it is."
The mere fact that one of these women may have been paid money will never prove what happened, or even indicate what happened. one way or another.
4. The settlement amounts were considered tiny for a sexual harassment case in the 90's
"In the context of late 1990s sex harassment litigation, that is a small settlement.
The smallness of the settlement deserves attention because sexual harassment is a tort that covers a lot of territory, everything from prolonged and brutal sexual humiliation to an untoward joke. A settlement in the $10,000-$90,000 range is likely going to arise from behavior that is on the low-end of the spectrum.
If it turns out that this case arose because Herman Cain said something that he thought was funny – but that somebody else did not – I doubt that anybody would regard that as legitimate reason to disqualify him for the presidency (from which he is sufficiently disqualified on other grounds)."
5. Much is made by Cain's detractors of the appearance that he contradicted himself in his explanations of this matter yesterday. I have news for these people. Cain has been verbally stumbling and sometimes hemming and hawing since this campaign began. He is not a polished impromptu speaker nor a facile interviewee. He tried to 'parse' his interpretation of the 'payout' by claiming his discrepancies were caused by confusion over whether the payout was a settlement of a sexual harassment charge or an agreement over termination pay. The apparent fact that the payment appears to have been small enough that it could have been severance pay is a point in Cain's favor, no matter how in-artfully he explained it.
6. If people are actually interested in the truth, as opposed to simpling bashing Herman Cain, the two women must come forward, ala Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey, so they can tell their story and they can be questioned by the media.
Anonymous charges, and the 'evidence' of a payment to the woman is simply not sufficient to permit the public to make a judgement.