Cain: Wife took sex claims "harder than I did"

In this May 21, 2011, file photo, Gloria Cain accompanies her husband Herman Cain as he announces his run as a Republican candidate for president in Atlanta. AP/File

Herman and Gloria Cain
In this May 21, 2011, file photo, Gloria Cain accompanies her husband Herman Cain as he announces his run as a Republican candidate for president in Atlanta.
AP

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who spent much of last week defending himself against decade-old allegations of sexual harassment and assault, says the ordeal has been harder on his wife than on himself, and he's still "in it to win it."

Cain told the Fox News Channel's "Geraldo At Large" that confronting the allegations has, for him, been "like I'm in the boxing match every day, throwing punches back," but his wife Gloria, who has seen the dramatic accusations unfold in the media every day, "actually took it harder than I did."

He said his wife had recovered from the shock and was "doing fine now."

The former pizza restaurant magnate said colleagues and advisers had warned him that such controversies about political candidates were often harder on the families than the candidates themselves.

Several women, who've not been identified publicly, claim Cain made unwanted advances - one even claiming assault - while the Georgia businessman was head of the National Restaurant Association. A lawyer for one woman said Friday that Cain agreed to a financial settlement to address her complaint at the time.

Cain insists all allegations of sexual harassment and improprieties are baseless.

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The Cain campaign machine went to great lengths over the weekend to make it clear they were done discussing the matter, telling reporters who hurled more questions on the theme their efforts would be futile.

"We are getting back on message, end of story," he said after a one-on-one debate with Newt Gingrich in Texas.

Cain also defended his handling of the scandal, which was panned widely by his GOP rivals, but admitted it could have been better on day-one.

"It got off to a little bit of a bumpy start, in all honesty... I wanted to confront this immediately because I knew I had nothing to hide. I knew that that there was nothing to these faceless claims. I knew that, and even though I may not have responded on Monday morning as crisply and precise as I did later in the day, I'd do it all over again if I had to."

In spite of a new poll by the Reuters news agency which shows the week of disaster management knocked 9 percentage points off of his favorability rating among Republicans - to 57 percent from 66 percent the previous week - Cain told Fox News he remains "in it to win it."

"Far as we're concerned, these allegations aren't going anywhere," he said. "I mean people might make up some more stuff. We are in it to win it."

  • Tucker Reals

    Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.

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