Image: Herman Cain
Carolyn Kaster / AP

TODAY   |  November 04, 2011

Cain backers complain of ‘high-tech lynching’

Supporters of GOP presidential frontrunner Herman Cain are comparing the sex scandal plaguing him with what happened to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who famously complained of a “high-tech lynching.” NBC’s Lisa Myers reports.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

MATT LAUER, co-host: Let us begin, though, this morning with the latest on GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain and those allegations of sexual harassment . NBC 's senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers joins us now from Washington . Lisa , good morning.

LISA MYERS reporting: Good morning to you, Matt. Cain is now comparing his ordeal to what happened to another black conservative , Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas , who famously complained of a high-tech lynching. But the allegations against Cain continue to mount. Today we may finally get a statement from one of Cain 's accusers about what she says was inappropriate sexual conduct. The message was not subtle. Herman Cain showed up on a conservative website being interviewed by Ginni Thomas , the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas .

Mr. HERMAN CAIN: That is the DC culture. Guilty until proven innocent .

Justice CLARENCE THOMAS: This is a circus.

MYERS: Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill during his confirmation hearings.

Justice THOMAS: This is a circus.

MYERS: Cain supporters used that as a rallying cry in a new web video that features Thomas himself.

Justice THOMAS: It is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order you will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured rather than hung from a tree.

MYERS: In the eyes of many conservatives, Cain , like Thomas , is a victim of the media.

Offscreen Voice: Now we're getting the high-tech lynching of a beautiful man, Herman Cain .

MYERS: Clearly, some of Cain 's supporters are rallying round. His contributions have soared. More than $1.2 million this week. On Thursday Cain took a brief break from the controversy to meet with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger . Later he was back to telling Sean Hannity that all of the allegations swirling around him are false.

Mr. CAIN: Sean , this is absolutely fabrication, man. I don't know what else to say. How many more ways can I say this stuff is totally fabricated?


MYERS: But Politico, which first broke the story, is now reporting that the incident with one of Cain 's accusers was overtly sexual and serious enough that she complained that same night to top officials of the National Restaurant Association , where Cain was then CEO. Cain emphatically denies he ever did anything inappropriate.

Mr. HANNITY: Did you tell a woman she looked good? That that dress looks hot?

Mr. CAIN: Nope.

Mr. HANNITY: Anything...

Mr. CAIN: Nope.

Mr. HANNITY: Any flirtation that you can think of?

Mr. CAIN: Nope, nope.

MYERS: Today the other woman who formally accused Cain of inappropriate behavior and received a settlement hopes to release a written statement of her account, while maintaining her anonymity.

Mr. JOEL BENNETT (Attorney): She had nothing to do with this becoming public and is anxious for it to go away.

MYERS: The National Restaurant Association has promised an answer today on whether the statement would violate her confidentiality agreement. Meanwhile, Cain says his wife, Gloria , is still 200 percent supportive of him as a candidate and 200 percent supportive of him as her husband. Matt :