When Politico broke the story that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain had a history of sexual harassment, nobody knew where the information had come from. But in the new book “Double Down: Game Change 2012,” authors John Heilemann and Mark Halperin report that competitor John Huntsman started the rumors that eventually led to Cain’s political demise.
According to an excerpt published in U.S. News and World Report, “After getting a tip from a donor, Huntsman’s researchers had dug into Cain’s past, discovered the first two sexual harassment claims, and fed the story to Politico. As they waited for Politico to turn their tip into a story, members of Huntsman’s circle asked each other when the ‘high heel’ was going to drop on Cain.”
At the time, no one suspected the Huntsman campaign. But the book reports that Huntsman’s people not only shredded Cain’s reputation, but also railroaded would-be candidate Mitch Daniels.
Daniels’ wife Cheri left him for a married man nearly two decades ago, although the couple eventually reunited. During the 2012 campaign, someone leaked the contact information of the ex-wife of the man she cheated with, who had nasty things to say about Cheri. Daniels gave up his presidential aspirations, and most thought the Mitt Romney camp was to blame for the leak.
If the book is correct, Huntsman also told Harry Reid that Romney had not paid taxes in 10 years. This was a major point of contention as Reid pressed Romney to release his tax returns — which he refused to do.
Huntsman, however, refuted this idea in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune. "It's so ridiculous that people associate my name with Mitt Romney's tax returns, like I would have interest in it or know about it," he said.
Huntsman also slammed the authors, saying, "These fellows who wrote this book, they dwell on falsehoods and false rumors. They're nothing but supermarket, tabloid trash. They ought to be ashamed of themselves."
The book doesn’t stop with Huntsman; the authors also accuse Romney of mocking overweight people, saying he would laugh to male staff members, "Oh, there's your date tonight” when passing a heavy woman.