Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Ginger White Affair: Lies, denials, and Herman Cain

(This is a long post with several substantial blockquotes. But I encourage you to read it all, as well as to watch the clip at the end.)

You've probably heard by now that a Georgia woman, Ginger White, is claiming she had a 13-year affair with Herman Cain:

An Atlanta businesswoman is breaking her silence, claiming she has been involved in a 13-year-long affair with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, FOX 5 senior I-Team reporter Dale Russell sat down with Ginger White, who had a story to tell.

"I'm not proud," White told Russell. "I didn't want to come out with this. I did not."

White was worried a political tsunami was headed her way. So, she decided to head it off, by confessing she was involved in a 13-year-long affair with presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

"It was pretty simple," White said. "It wasn't complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship."

It came out oddly, however. Cain actually went on CNN just before Atlanta TV station WAGA (FOX 5) aired the interview with White (which you can watch below) and pre-emptively denied the claim:

Cain, who lives in suburban Atlanta, upstaged the report by going on CNN a few minutes before the station broadcast its interview with White. He told CNN's "The Situation Room" that her assertion was coming and would be false.

"It is someone that I know who is an acquaintance that I thought was a friend," Cain said. But he added, "I did not have an affair."

"I acknowledge that I knew the woman," he said. "I acknowledge that I have known her for about that period of time. But the accusation that I had a 13-year affair with her, no."


In a written statement issued after the interview aired, he said, "I will not fight false claims as it is not what America needs or wants."

"The American public is tired of dirty politics and smear tactics as evident of their tremendous outpouring of support for me, my family and my campaign this past month," he said. "I am running for president of the United States of America, and the reality is that there are individuals out there that favor the status quo of higher taxes, more government and political cronyism and they are afraid of a Cain presidency."

First, let me say this: I don't care.

I don't care if Cain had an affair with Ms. White or with anyone else. That's his business, and hers, and his family's, and hers, but it's not, or rather should not be, public fodder. Yes, he's a big-time political figure, and, yes, he justifiably faces intense scrutiny, whether he likes it or not, and, yes, his judgment and ethics are fair game, but something like this should remain private. Hold him accountable for sexual harassment, or worse, but not this, not what appears to have been a meaningful romantic relationship.

Not the affair, that is.

But he should absolutely be held accountable for his lying. And there appears to be little doubt that he's lying here, just as he did before when reports of all those sexual harassment allegations came out.

Yes, it's possible that Ms. White is making this up. But... really? I'd say that's very unlikely:

She says he gave her his newly-published book, Leadership is Common Sense, and he wrote: "Miss G, you have already made a 'big difference!' Stay focused as you pursue your next destination."

She says during the next 13 years, he would fly her to cities where he was speaking and he lavished her with gifts. She says they often stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Buckhead and dined at The Four Seasons restaurant. She says he never harassed her, never treated her poorly, and was the same man you see on the campaign trail.

"Very much the same, very much confident, very much sure of himself," White said, describing Cain. "Very arrogant in a playful sometimes way. Very, ah -- Herman Cain loves Herman Cain."

When his new book, CEO of SELF, came out in 2001, she says Cain once again autographed it for her writing, "'Friends are forever! Everything else is a bonus.'"

When asked if it was fair to say the relationship is going on even now, White said, "I think it is safe to say that after this interview, that will be the end of it. Yes, we have a friendship now."

She says the physical relationship ended about eight months ago, right before Cain announced he was running for president. But the communication did not. When we asked for any corroborating evidence, she pointed us to her cell phone contacts. One name: Herman Cain.

She showed us some of her cell phone bills that included 61 phone calls or text messages to or from a number starting with 678. She says it is Herman Cain's private cell phone. The calls were made during four different months-- calls or texts made as early as 4:26 in the early morning, and as late as 7:52 at night. The latest were in September of this year.

"We've never worked together," said White. "And I can't imagine someone phoning or texting me for the last two and a half years, just because."

We texted the number and Herman Cain called us back. He told us he "knew Ginger White" but said these are "more false allegations." He said she had his number because he was "trying to help her financially."

Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. And just like Cain, who is treating yet another woman with disrespect. From what we know of him, it's no surprise at all.

Now, why is she coming out with this now? Shameless opportunism, as Cain's apologists might allege? It would seem not:

She says she planned on keeping the relationship a secret while Cain made his run for the White House until she and her family watched reports of different women who had accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment.

She says she was not surprised by the allegations, but was bothered by the way Cain fought back, attacking the woman, including during an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman.

"It bothered me that they were being demonized, sort of, they were treated as if they were automatically lying, and the burden of proof was on them," White said. "I felt bad for them."

We received a phone tip from someone who knew Ginger White. That person claimed Ms. White was having an affair with Herman Cain. The tipster also called a number of other national media outlets who reached out to her. White told FOX 5, she felt trapped.

"I wanted to give my side, before it was thrown out there and made out to be something filthy," said White. "Some people will look at this and say that is exactly what it is. I'm sorry for that."

To its credit, FOX 5 did its due diligence:

Before our interview, we checked into Ginger White's background. We found she filed a sexual harassment claim against an employer in 2001. That case was settled.

We also found a bankruptcy filing nearly 23 years ago in Kentucky, and a number of eviction notices here in DeKalb County over the past six years. The most recent happened this month.

Ms. White says she has been unemployed, and she is a single mom with two kids struggling to make ends meet.


We also found a lawsuit filed by a former business partner, Kimberly Vay, who once sought a "stalking temporary protective order" against Ms. White for "repeated e-mails/texts threatening lawsuit and defamation of character." The case was dismissed; but was followed by a libel lawsuit against Ms. White. A judge entered an order in favor of Kimberly Vay because Ms. White failed to respond to the lawsuit.

So maybe. Yes, maybe. I hope it's true only because I hope this woman wouldn't make up something like this for personal gain. Right now, though it's a she-said-he-said thing. We'll have to see if the media dig up more evidence, or if Ms. White supplies it.

But a statement sent to the TV station by Cain's lawyer, Lin Wood, is revealing:

Mr. Cain has been informed today that your television station plans to broadcast a story this evening in which a female will make an accusation that she engaged in a 13-year long physical relationship with Mr. Cain. This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace – this is not an accusation of an assault – which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate.

Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults – a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public's right to know and the media's right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one's bedroom door.

Mr. Cain has alerted his wife to this new accusation and discussed it with her. He has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media.

I agree. It is a private matter between, if it happened, consensual adults, and it is not, or should not be, a matter for media or other public scrutiny.

But we're past that now. Cain went on television first to make a private matter public. He didn't just say it was a private matter, he denied Ms. White's claim before that claim was even aired. And now, having created a he-said-she-said dynamic, that is, having created a conflicting narrative, he says we're not supposed to ask any questions before it's private?

Uh, no. Because that would mean taking him at his word, and refusing to take Ms. White's at hers, and allowing what would appear to be Cain's campaign of denial and disrespect to prevail. This is what he wants, for the truth to remain hidden behind the bedroom door, for Ms. White to be disregarded by the media and the public, to be able to avoid scrutiny simply because he's powerful and she's anything but, because he's a man and she's a sexual object who can be cast aside at his leisure, just like the woman he harassed and groped.

Ideally, yes, this all would have remained private. But it didn't, and now he shouldn't be allowed to get away with yet more dishonesty. If he didn't do it, fine, then he deserves an apology. But if he did, as it would seem he did, and therefore if he's lying to us once again, then he deserves what's coming to him.


  1. Anonymous12:19 AM

    If Cain is still texting her and calling, she could have easily shown some flirtatious messages. Or could have had a call recorded, to show as evidence of the nature of relationship. If she is going to talk publicly about, why not record some easily obtainable evidence (as calls/nessages are recent), if it is still happening? Once again, looks like part of a hatchet job (exploiting a 15 year old reported case), and no one can be immune to such hit jobs.

  2. Look, you may be right. As I say, it's possible. She has a bit of a sketchy record.

    It's just interesting to me that Cain gets his side of the story out and now we're not supposed to know anymore about it?

    Maybe there are text messages or recorded calls, or other evidence. We shall see. The question is why she would do this if it weren't true.

  3. Anonymous12:38 AM

    There can be many motivations in a high stakes campaign like this - political/financial etc. If she decided to make it public, and if she is truthful, she has all the means to collect ample evidence (as it is current). That she instead chose to make it a juicy 'he-said/she-said' kind of story makes it very suspicious. All she has to do is to save/show text messages, or call Cain and have the conversation recorded. It will be interesting if the phone service provider has the ability to retrieve text messages.

  4. Yes, but his response is suspicious as well. And I just don't see why she'd do this without any evidence.

    We shall see.

  5. Anonymous3:42 AM

    Her timing of this certainly smells! It appears to me that she is lying.

    First, if indeed she had a 13 year affair with him, one would think it was meaningful enough to not blab it to the press, regardless of who starts asking questions about it. For this reason alone I think her story is false. (Had she said she had a 3 MONTH fling with him it would be a far more believable story.) SECOND, the locations in Atlanta that she chose to include in her story leave me questioning its validity. I've stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Buckhead as well as the Four Seasons in Midtown plenty of times. The latter is a far better place to stay and the former is a far better place to eat! So, I'm suspicious that she would choose the hotels she did and appropriate them in her story as she did. This just doesn't square up with the reality of the venues and the way that someone who truly knows these hotels would use them! Also, there are plenty of newer 5-star hotels that one would use for a lively, high-flying affiar if that is what they had. (The Ritz and Four Seasons are "old school" digs!) Sorry, but her story doesn't add up when the known details are considered.

    It sounds like she is hurting financially and her motivation here is to elicit money for interviews and the inevitable "Enquirer" story.

  6. Anonymous9:17 AM

    Our nation faces so many economic challenges, we are at war. The topic of the day is sexual affair... this is a joke,

  7. Anonymous1:59 PM

    Who is paying her to do this. That is the question the press should be asking and investigating. It might reveal some interesting information about some of the other candidates out there that folks would like to know about before the election.

    Seems like if this accusation is to be taken seriously, there needs to be some strong evidence, and so far this appear to be just another loose accusation.

  8. Anonymous1:01 PM

    just checked and as I figured you did not post my comment - you are as one sided as the network new stations....last time I visit here not worth it...

  9. I didn't post your comment because it was full of foul language towards Ms. White. If you can't be mature, we have no use for you here.