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Interview With Herman Cain on Sexual Misconduct Allegations; Cain Responds to Allegations; Calls to "Occupy" Iowa Caucuses; Bank of America Won't Charge $5 Debit Fee
Aired November 1, 2011 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to see you, Kyra.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Good to see you.
MALVEAUX: Live from Studio 7, as she mentioned, I'm Suzanne Malveaux.
Our top story today, presidential hopeful Herman Cain and how he's responded in the last 24 hours to reports of inappropriate behavior, claims made by two women he worked with in the '90s. Well, that's when he was head of the National Restaurant Association. He has been criticized for giving conflicting comments about what he did and didn't know after Politico came out with this report on Sunday.
Well, just this last hour, he clarified those comments with Robin Meade from our sister network, HLN. We're going to play it for you in its entirety.
ROBIN MEADE, HLN ANCHOR: Herman Cain, who is a candidate for the Republican nomination for the president, has been kind enough to join us in our studios in Washington, D.C., and he's joining us live this morning after what was surely a very stressful and a busy day yesterday
I do hope you got some sleep, and thank you for being with us. Our viewers do thank you, too.
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Robin. And it was a busy day, but I survived.
Now, this is why it was a busy day -- and we're going to talk about many issues, but let's start with what's at the top of the news.
MEADE: A lot of people are asking this morning, did you say one thing early yesterday about sexual allegations against you, but then something completely different hours later? Let's watch as things happened yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?
CAIN: Have a nice day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: If the restaurant association did a settlement, I am not even -- I wasn't even aware of it, and I hope it wasn't for much, because nothing happened. So if there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers that worked for me at the association, so the answer is absolutely not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: I am unaware of any sort of settlement. I hope it wasn't for much, because I didn't do anything. But the fact of the matter is, I'm not aware of a settlement that came out of that accusation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: I was aware that an agreement was reached. The word "settlement" versus the word "agreement," you know, I'm not sure what they called it.
I know that there was some sort of agreement, but because it ended up being minimal, they didn't have to bring it to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: Here is one incident that I recall as the day has gone on. She was in my office one day, and I made a gesture saying -- and I was standing close to her, and I made a gesture, "You're the same height as my wife."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MEADE: So I'm confused a little bit, Mr. Cain. I mean, you do sell yourself as a straight shooter, so what's with what sounded like inconsistencies? Were there inconsistencies, or no, through yesterday?
CAIN: OK, Robin -- MEADE: Yes?
CAIN: -- thank you for giving me this chance to clear the air.
This was 12 years ago. I was falsely accused. And secondly, the word "settlement" suggested to me some sort of legal settlement. And as I recalled what happened 12 years ago, I recalled an agreement. I wasn't thinking legal settlement.
And so the words have been suspect (ph), and I do recall an agreement. I recalled, as my thoughts went through the day, that there was an agreement with this lady who made these charges, and they were found to be false. I have never committed sexual harassment in my entire career, period. And it was found that nothing took place in terms of sexual harassment in this particular case.
MEADE: And you had said that all along, that they were false accusations, they were not found to be valid enough, that you were then -- that the accusations stood. But as the day went on, you seemed to recall a little bit more about the different cases.
MEADE: Is there anything new that, now that we're fully 24, 48 hours into this, you're remembering more about what happened, Mr. Cain?
CAIN: That is it. The best account was the one that I gave last night on another station, and the only thing that I added as the day -- remember, this was 12 years ago, and I was trying to recollect this in the middle of an already busy planned day -- a major speech in the morning, a major luncheon speech at the Press Club.
And so the only thing that I could remember when I was asked about any specific things that were in the allegation, I came up with the fact that I made a gesture by putting my hand under my chin, standing near this lady, saying, "Oh, you're the same height as my wife."
My wife is five feet tall, she comes up to my chin, and I was simply making that comparison. We were in my office, the door was wide open, and my assistant was sitting right outside.
MEADE: Now, do you know why is it, all of a sudden, that you remembered things about it yesterday? Were you informed, or were you told more about the case yesterday?
CAIN: No. I just started to remember more.
Remember, in 12 years, a lot of stuff can go through your head. This wasn't exactly something that I had top of mind where I was trying to recall every little detail that went on 12 years ago. But as the day went on, in the middle of all of the other things that we had planned -- and by the way, we did not let this distraction stop me from making all the appointments that I had made in order to get my campaign message out. MEADE: Now, at the same time, the story -- where this all started was from Politico, and it had mentioned that there were two cases, two accusations of sexual harassment.
MEADE: Do you remember anything now about the other case?
CAIN: Absolutely not. I wasn't even aware of the second case until we saw the Politico article. The first one I was aware of, but the second one, I have -- and I still haven't recalled. I didn't even know the second one existed, if it exists, because remember, the article said two anonymous sources.
MEADE: So you said that regarding the first one, that you do remember a little about now, but you turned the complaint over to the HR person and the general counsel, and that you didn't know what happened to the complaint. I mean, did you ever ask, hey, what's she accusing me of, or how did this turn out?
CAIN: I did, but when he said the gesture with the height thing, and there were a couple other things in there that I found absolutely ridiculous --
MEADE: What were those?
CAIN: I don't even remember. They were so ridiculous, I don't remember what they are.
MEADE: You remember they were ridiculous, but you don't remember what those other things were?
CAIN: The reason I forgot them, Robin, is because they were ridiculous. I dismissed them out of my mind.
I said, if she can make that stick and call that sexual harassment, fine. But it didn't stick. OK?'
So I don't remember what they were. The only thing I remember is that one gesture I made talking about the height.
MEADE: So do you -- did you never find out -- why did you never go back to HR to find out what their review had found?
CAIN: Because it started out as -- it started out where she was making some huge claims about sexual harassment. I do recall that she was asking for a large sum of money. I don't remember what that sum of money was, but as the review of this moved forward, that sum of money, negotiating with my attorney, negotiating with her attorney, got less and less and less, because her attorney started to figure out she didn't have a valid claim.
She couldn't find people to corroborate some of these things that she was making. And so as it got smaller and smaller and smaller, it turned out to be, from my perspective, which is why I didn't go back and ask to see it, more of a separation agreement, rather than some sort of legal settlement.
This is why the word changed from "settlement" -- because the word "settlement" was in the Politico article. I remember an agreement. And in many companies and organizations, sometimes you call them separation agreements. You don't call them separation settlements. And so this is why later the idea of the agreement did come back to memory.
MEADE: I think that for some, what's puzzling is that Politico reported that it gave your campaign, like, 10 days to come back with some reaction.
MEADE: And I believe we have that tape. I want to play that tape where the reporter asked if you had been accused of sexual harassment but you didn't answer. Hold on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last question. Last question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever been accused, sir, of sexual harassment?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last one, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last question. Last question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, have you? Yes or no? Have you ever been accused, sir, of sexual harassment? Have you?
CAIN: I'm trying to --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the last question. Thanks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you, sir, yes or no? Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have a nice day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MEADE: I remember the first time I saw that, Herman, and I was like, oh, my gosh, he asked it back to the reporter. Why did you react that way? Did it come out of nowhere for you after Politico said that your campaign had it for 10 days?
CAIN: We had it for 10 days, Robin. We made a conscious decision with my sign-off. I'm not going to go out and start chasing two anonymous accusations, so that was a conscious decision.
We didn't know what the article was going to include, we didn't know what the accusations were going to be, so for me to even answer his question was totally inappropriate. You don't do business like that. It's similar to negotiating against yourself.
MEADE: Well, do you have -- aren't there other accusations against you that you wouldn't know what two accusations he was talking about when he said sexual harassment?
CAIN: All we know is that they contacted my office and said that they had two anonymous sources accusing me of sexual harassment. And we said, "Well, what details can you give us?" They couldn't give us any, other than it occurred when I was at the National Restaurant Association.
I immediately recalled one, and that was the one we talked about earlier. I couldn't recall the other one.
And the reason that I wasn't going to answer his question standing on the street, after I had done another interview, that could have been taken totally out of context. I wanted to be able to put it into context like I'm doing now to explain what I knew and what I didn't know, what I can now remember and what I couldn't remember, at the beginning of yesterday.
MEADE: Now, if either of these two women, one of whom you do remember, one of whom you don't remember the case, you're saying, if they were watching now, I mean, what would you say to them regarding their complaints? Because you say they were false and they were found to be false.
CAIN: I would simply say, why are you bringing it up now? Obviously, someone is encouraging them to bring it up now because I'm doing so well in this Republican nomination. That's all I would say, why are you bringing it up now?
Secondly, are you being used to try and help paint a cloud and help sabotage my candidacy? That's all I would say.
I would just simply ask a question as to why they would do that now. And you and I both know why they're doing it, because someone does not like the fact that we're doing so well in this campaign, and that I'm at or near the top of the polls consistently.
MEADE: So you feel like this is a smear campaign? From whom, do you think?
CAIN: I absolutely believe that this is an intended smear campaign using these two cases -- like I said, I'm not even aware of the second one. It is a smear campaign. When they cannot --
MEADE: By whom? Do you know by whom?
CAIN: We don't know. We have no idea.
When they cannot kill my ideas like 9-9-9, they come after me personally. And someone asked me yesterday in one of the many interviews that I did, clearing the air on this, is there anything else? Not that I know of.
I knew about that one case at the restaurant association. I've been in business -- I was in business before I ran for president over 40 years, and that was the only instance of accused sexual abuse -- sexual harassment, the only one.
And so what I'm saying is -- and then in the rest of the Politico article, which was near the end, the last two paragraphs, three people who were at the restaurant association, members of the board of directors, attested to my character and integrity. But not a lot of people are paying attention to that.
MEADE: Yes. I do want to say that that's true, that Politico article did say that most people or many that they talked to did remember your tenure fondly there, and was happy to have you there.
MEADE: But after what appears to be missteps in the way that you handled this yesterday, I mean, if you could do yesterday over, would you do it differently regarding the way that you answered the questions, agreements, settlements, yes, no, did know, didn't know?
CAIN: If I could do it over, Robin, I would start with the last interview I did last night and make that the first interview of the day, because after 12 hours during the day, many events, many interviews, I was able to gradually recall more and more details about what happened 12 years ago. So that's what I would do differently.
But, you know, I wasn't given the opportunity to think about it for a day before I had to start answering questions. So that's what I would do differently.
I would take the very last interview of the day and make it the first interview of the day, because in the last interview, I made it real clear. I was falsely accused and it was demonstrated to be false.
I wasn't aware of the second accusation. I have never committed to sexual harassment toward anybody. In my over 40 years, this was the only case that I know about, and if there are any others out there, they would probably have to make it up, because I am totally not aware and I'm not trying to hide anything. I'm trying to put it all out there for people to see.
MEADE: Now, the women were reportedly paid a pretty good amount settlement when they left the National Restaurant Association, so based on that, I mean, what do you think the viewers and the voters should then make about the legitimacy of the claims, how big this was to you -- I mean, if someone falsely accused me, that would be big, and I would remember, I think.
CAIN: Here's what I recall, that the settlement with the one that I remember and I'm aware of, that was a financial settlement, and it was somewhere in the vicinity of three to six months' severance pay, something of that nature, which meant that it wasn't outside the normal guidelines for employees who left. As I recall, this first lady left the restaurant association before I did.
I was only there two-and-a-half years, and the case, the accusation, didn't come up until she left the National Restaurant Association. I remember that there was a financial settlement, but it was not outside our guidelines for what people get settlement for when they leave the restaurant association involuntarily.
Now, you've been married for more than 40 years. You've been really happy and proud to say that. So, I'm wondering, what does your wife, if we may ask, have to say about all of this and these things surfacing? Was she told initially all those years ago about it?
CAIN: Yes, she was. When this happened years ago, I told my wife about it because it was found to be baseless. And the hardest part on my wife, quite frankly, is all of the innuendoes from all of the news reports that haven't been presenting the facts.
You know, the fact that, yes, the word "settlement," I said I don't recall a settlement earlier in the day. That's because I considered what happened an agreement. But because of, like I said, the detail at which every word is scrutinized, it was an agreement. And so it looked like I changed my story.
I didn't change my story. I just simply got the wording right, and the difference between "settlement" and "agreement," there is a difference to me.
Now, a lot of campaign watchers are saying, ooh, this is a misstep by his campaign. Do you have any fears about how this is going to play into your poll numbers?
CAIN: First of all, it may affect my poll numbers, but most of our supporters have not been shaken by this whatsoever. In fact, many of the people that have been in organizations that I have run -- I've been president and CEO -- have called and asked, would we like for them to do a testimonial, that this is ridiculous, because they're attesting to go my character and my integrity.
The other thing that shows that a lot of people find this just an attempt to cloud. Robin, yesterday, online, we had one of our highest fund-raising days in the campaign, one of the highest ever.
CAIN: So what it has done, I believe it has backfired on those that are trying to put a cloud over my campaign because they can't shoot down my ideas. They can criticize 9-9-9, they will criticize the energy independence strategy that we are going to unveil within the next couple of weeks, but they can't shoot down the ideas.
And here's another thing that has a lot of my critics upset. The people, the voters, the ones that matter, they like these ideas because they are specific, they're common sense, and they can understand it.
And this is what they can't defeat, because I don't give generic responses. I give direct responses, and I've had people tell me over and over and over again, as I'm speaking around the country, don't change, tell it like it is.
MEADE: All right. And Mr. Cain --
MALVEAUX: Joining me now, HLN's Robin Meade, and Wolf Blitzer from Washington.
So, Robin, first of all, that was just excellent interview.
MEADE: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: I loved your interview. And there are a lot of folks, of course, who would love to sit down 20 minutes, 25 minutes with Herman Cain. How did you make that happen, first of all?
MEADE: I was really -- I was impressed that he still came on the show and was willing to talk so long, because, like you said, that was an entire -- almost half-hour's worth of a news broadcast.
But we had booked him ahead of time for something else. It was for the 100th birthday of -- the 100th birthday of what would have been Ronald Reagan's birthday.
MEADE: If I can say that correctly. You know what I'm saying, anyway. So, if Ronald Reagan were alive, it was 100 years ago that he was born.
So he was supposed to come to Atlanta for that and actually be in our studio. And then it just so happened that he wasn't coming to Atlanta, but he kept the date with us. And then, even after all the allegations and the news was coming across, I respected him that he still kept the appointment and came in and talked with us.
MALVEAUX: Right. And you pressed him, because he stayed in that seat. And a lot of times, they take off the mikes, they're done. Right?
MALVEAUX: And you really pressed him on a lot of these issues. And you and I were talking about this. It still seems like there's some unanswered questions there, right?
I mean, I thought it was really telling when you asked him, if you had that day to do over again, what would you do differently?
MEADE: And what did he say? He said, "I would do yesterday over. I would do the last interview first." What happened in that last interview that he gave yesterday for Fox? That's where he gave the most information.
It's almost like he realizes -- and I can't put words in his mouth, but I would assume that he realizes if he gave that kind of information at the start, it wouldn't have become such a big issue. He says -- now, to his point, he says that's when he started to remember points about the one case where he remembers details about the accusations which he says were found to be false.
So that's what that last interview was about, because throughout the day, it was settlement, agreement, settlement. And I felt we were really splitting hairs over, what does the word "settlement" mean and what does the word "agreement" mean?
MALVEAUX: Was there anything that surprised you?
MEADE: Yes, a number of things. For one, I was surprised to hear that even after everything that's really been in the news cycle, he said that that had been the best fund-raising day of their campaign, yesterday, even with everything that's going on.
I did notice -- do you remember when he said, "My wife was told"?
MALVEAUX: Right. Right.
MEADE: But then he said he didn't remember the first allegations, and some of the allegations were so ludicrous, that he didn't remember it. And I said to him -- I was like, you know, if someone made ludicrous accusations, like, if they said, "Robin, do you have pink hair?" And that's ludicrous, and you would remember that because of how crazy it is.
MALVEAUX: You wouldn't forget it, yes.
MEADE: He said he can't remember, but yet he told wife at the time because accusations are false.
MEADE: So those were things that seemed puzzling to me, yes.
MALVEAUX: And so many inconsistencies.
I want to bring in our Wolf Blitzer here.
Because, Wolf, Robin brings up a really good point here, which was, yesterday, he says that this was really one of the best days for him fund-raising.
Do we think that this is going to backfire, as he believes, or is he just doing damage control and is he out?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I think among certain conservatives, activists in the Republican Party, Tea Party activists and others, this will help him. He's probably going to generate some support, because they'll be able to point the liberal media, the mainstream media, as going out after him, trying to smear him, trying to hurt him. And it will probably play to that base, so he probably will generate some support. A lot will depend, obviously, on what else comes out in the coming days and weeks.
I thought it was really telling, and I thought Robin did a really good job in bringing out more information than we have gotten, including in that Fox interview with Greta Van Susteren last night, some more information. For example, in the interview with Robin, he did disclose that his own lawyer -- he said, my personal lawyer was negotiating with this woman, the woman who was accusing him of sexual harassment, with her lawyer, and they started off, the woman's lawyer, with a high amount of money they wanted for a settlement, but then, in the course of negotiations, it came down, he says, because there was little corroborating evidence or anything like that, and the money went down. And then they finally settled in what he described as three to six months of her salary, which is a normal severance package for somebody who is being dismissed -- that's what he said -- at the National Restaurant Association, which he headed.
But remember just the other day, he was saying -- yesterday, he was saying that he recused himself. The general counsel for the National Restaurant Association got involved, together with other executives at the National Restaurant Association, and he simply walked away from it. But today he did disclose -- I guess he's been thinking a lot about it, remembering a lot more details -- that his own personal lawyer, he said -- and Robin, you can correct me if I'm wrong -- I think he did say, "My lawyer was negotiating with her lawyer," and the settlement money went down, down, down.
So he's getting more information. More is coming out. And now, all of a sudden, we're learning that one of his lawyers was directly involved in trying to reach some sort of agreement with this woman.
Is that your reading, Robin, as well?
MEADE: Well, and you could read that two ways, because "my lawyer and her lawyer," I would consider people at my company to be my lawyer, too. Do you know what I mean? So, did he mean that, or did he mean what he said?
MEADE: Actually, we could ask that about the whole situation, did he mean what he said, right?
BLITZER: That's a good point. "My lawyer" could be the restaurant association lawyer. But even if it were the restaurant association lawyer, he said he recused himself from those discussions, meaning he had to walk away. He didn't know what was going on, but all of a sudden, he's remembering now that there were negotiations in which the amount of money this woman was speaking was going down, down, down, as there was, according to him, her lawyer was suggesting that there wasn't enough corroborating evidence.
The other thing I thought that was really fascinating -- Suzanne, I'm anxious to hear what you think, as well as Robin -- was when he said, you know, if you take a look at this whole situation right now, he's blaming his political adversaries, his political enemies, for generating this whole story in Politico. He's saying flatly, I don't know who did it, but he thinks there is a campaign out to get him because he's doing so well in all of the polls, not only in the national polls among Republicans, but in Iowa, in New Hampshire, in Florida, in South Carolina, all these other polls. He's doing really well.
And he thinks there's a concerted smear campaign out to get him, even though he doesn't know who is behind it. Politico, itself -- and I spoke with one of the reporters yesterday -- won't say who provided that initial tip to Politico to begin investigating this. And they obviously began investigating it.
But in the scheme of a political campaign, you know that people are going to want to take a closer look, and how did Politico get tipped off to this story, who was responsible for it? Was it a rival from another campaign trying to bring him down? Who would gain in the course of a smear campaign bringing him down among the other candidates?
These are questions that you know a lot of Politico reporters are going to be looking at. I have no doubt if Politico, for example, had been scooped, let's say, by "The Washington Post" broke this story. Politico would be trying to find out who tipped off "The Washington Post," just as all these other news organizations are now trying to get to the bottom of this.
In the scheme of things, it may not mean a whole lot, who originally provided the tip, but it will provide some context to how dirty this whole campaign for the Republican presidential nomination could get as opposition research begins to develop.
MALVEAUX: I think that's true.
And Robin, I want to ask you this as well -- and Wolf, you can weigh in here -- whether or not he has regained some sense of credibility. Because the one thing that seemed inconsistent in your interview was when you were asking him -- he said, I kept recalling as the day went on, more and more details here, but then he revealed to you that it was 10 days prior, when Politico came to him and said that there were accusations of sexual harassment by two anonymous people.
So he did have that information for 10 days. So it seems hard to believe that there was a recollection process that was going on within that 24-hour period.
MEADE: That's why I asked him. I was like -- you might remember that I said something along the lines of, "Were you informed yesterday?" Like, did someone say, hey, this happened and here's the details? Did someone remind you? And he said it was because he, all of a sudden, was talking so much about it, that that brought about his sudden memory about it.
And some people may go, really? But Politico gave you guys the information and asked you the question about it for 10 days, which some people I think were a little surprised, too, at his initial reaction then to the reporter, if Politico had given him 10 days to respond.
MEADE: Now, granted, you probably wouldn't expect a reporter outside an event, and they come in and ask you something different. That might kind of shock you, but his initial response wasn't yes or no.
And the reporter really pressed him on it. And it wasn't yes or no, even though they had been given leeway of 10 days to think about it here.
So, you know, was it properly restored? I don't know, but I did feel like that I saw the old Herman Cain back. It was almost like Sunday and Monday, there was high pressure, and there was a lot of, was it an agreement, was it a settlement? A splitting of hairs, if you will.
MEADE: But he came into the studio today the jovial guy, the friendly guy, and I said to my producers, "Tell me, what kind of mood is he in?" I kind of expected him to be in a bad mood, and they said he's in a good mood.
So, in that way --
MALVEAUX: You got him in a good mood, yes.
MEADE: Yes, the Herman Cain that the voters know, that guy is back, it seems like.
MALVEAUX: And you actually had a chance to continue the interview, ask a little bit more about who he is as a man. And we're going to bring that part of the interview after a quick break.
MALVEAUX: Now part two of Robin Meade's interview with Herman Cain, the Republican presidential candidate. He is talking about why he made conflicting statements when asked about allegations of inappropriate conduct by two women he worked with many years ago.
Take a listen.
ROBIN MEADE, HOST, HLN'S "MORNING EXPRESS": He's been kind enough to come in and talk about accusations years ago at the National Restaurant Association that he says were proven to be false about sexual harassment charges against him, or accusations against him. So is there one thing before I move on to other topics here? Anything else that you want to say to clear the air, as you say, and get this off your chest about that topic?
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nope. Anything else that comes up along these lines, people are going to have to make it up. And we fully expect that some people are going to make up some stuff and want us to go on a wild goose chase trying to prove that it didn't happen. We're not going to allow these distractions to get us off message.
Well, you were kind enough to come in here. So I do want to ask about other things about you and your campaign points.
Number one, how's your health? You are a colon cancer survivor?
CAIN: Yes. I am five years totally cancer-free. I had stage 4 cancer, and I was able to get an aggressive treatment schedule over a period of nine months and I am totally cancer-free. In fact, the last check-up that I had with my oncologist, he actually put it in writing because I wanted to make it available to the press because some people are wondering, do I still have it? No. He has called me, and I quote, a cancer miracle. So my health is just fine.
MEADE: I'm glad to hear that.
MEADE: And I'm sure that that is certainly had to shape your views about health care.
With so many people and so many businesses struggling with the cost going up, I mean, how would you help these people? Not just about how do you feel about President Obama's plan, I want to know how will you help these people.
CAIN: We have the best health care in the world. We have a health care cost problem. And, unfortunately, President Obama's solution is driving the costs up. The way I would help people is to ask Congress to pass patient-centered, market-driven reforms. And there is a whole list of them in HR 3400. That started, got swept under the rug.
If we do that, we would be pushed into decisions closer to the patient and the doctor rather than pushing the decision up to a bureaucrat. This is how you help people.
Secondly, we provide a safety net for those people that have pre-existing conditions or other conditions that would prevent them from being able to buy their own. This is the prose that I plan to use in order to help everybody with health care in this country.
MEADE: OK, let me ask you about, now you are known as a former businessman, but you have never held a public office, and that's -- a lot of the criticism comes from that, too.
What does a former business guy not know about running the country? You've got one minute. Go.
CAIN: A businessman will propose ideas that would fix the problems. A politician will propose ideas that will simply be something they think they can pass. The way I'm going to get things fixed is that the American people are going to understand my proposals so they can get behind them. It was former Senator Dirksen who popularized the statement, "When they feel the heat, they will see the light." The American people are going to be my heat in order for Congress to see the light, in order to pass these common sense solutions.
MEADE: What I'm asking you is, what does a business guy not know about politics?
CAIN: Well, what a business guy does not know are some of the intricacies, the way you navigate the legislative process. But we've got people who know that. I don't need to know that in order to president.
MEADE: I pushed him a little bit there. I know that's what I asked. I said, what does a businessman not know about running for president.
MALVEAUX: What was your impression after your 25 minutes?
MEADE: That it seemed to be a -- like splitting hairs over words. I was almost not sure if I -- if I listened to the interview again, should I have asked about, did you mean this with that word, or what about this with that word, because of the whole thing of, I thought a settlement and I thought agreement. It's almost like we were splitting words.
But, on the other hand, I really felt like he was kind of back and forth of the story and knew what he wanted to say about it, where at the beginning of the week, he didn't feel like that at all.
MALVEAUX: OK. I want to bring in Wolf as well.
And, Wolf, what do you make of it? Do you think he's back in control of the story here? I noticed he said when Robin asked him, anything else to say on this, he said, nope, not at all.
Is he going to get more questions on this? Or can he move on at this point? Did he help or hurt himself?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": I think he helped himself, but he's going to get more questions, there's no doubt. Because as Robin points out, there are still a lot of unanswered questioned, and in the course of Robin's interview more questions emerged that will require some further explanation.
I can tell you and I can tell Robin that after the interview, he walked out of our studio here on our Washington Bureau of CNN. I was there to greet him and to welcome him to our bureau. And I walked him to the elevator. And Robin, he was in an excellent mood. He was very happy with the interview. He was really happy with your questioning. He obviously has a soft spot for you. So he liked everything you were asking him and it gave him an opportunity to make his case.
But there will be some questions that will still require some follow-up from journalists. And a lot of journalists are not covering it. All the mainstream news organizations are all over the story right now.
Once again, I suspect at least for the next new cycle, it's going to dominate the news. Specifically, did he hire his own lawyer, or was he referring to the National Restaurant Association lawyer when he said, my lawyer was negotiating with her lawyer. This woman who was accusing him of sexual harassment. I think that has to be resolved. That question has to be resolved.
And this other flat assertion that he made that his political adversaries were behind what he called the smear campaign against him. Who was he referring to? He said he doesn't know who was responsible, but I'm sure there's going to be a lot of digging on that part of the story as well.
So there are more questions that have to be resolved. These two women who allegedly made these accusations, their names are now known by other news organizations, not just Politico.
The "Washington Post" reported today they have obtained the names of these two women. And we'll see if either one of these women decide to go public.
Robin, you'll remember at the end of your interview he said, why are these women raising this issue now? I don't know if these women are raising this issue now. Others may have raised the issue knowing about the incident. Maybe these women have no desire to see their names come out. No desire to revive an incident that occurred at least, what, 10 to 15 years ago.
I think he was there from 1996 to 1999 at the National Restaurant Association. So there's going to be more that's coming out and the story is not going away, but I think it's fair to say, Robin, you did an excellent job in that interview.
MEADE: Thank you. Appreciate it.
MALVEAUX: And it ended abruptly because?
MEADE: I was told -- and Wolf would be able to verify this -- I was told we had to go because there was a fire drill in the building?
BLITZER: We had a fire drill in the building that was scheduled and we delayed it because the interview was going on. He had to go because, and I spoke to him afterwards, he was ten minutes away from another appointment, and he's determined to keep his schedule as is despite this distraction of these allegations. He said to me, you know, I've got another appointment. I need to go. I don't want to be late. So he's moving on and he's got his eggs with him, obviously. His campaign is continuing to move despite what he calls this distraction, and it is a serious distraction, but eventually we'll get to the bottom of it one way or another, I suspect.
MALVEAUX: Yes, well, if he says he's moving on --
BLITZER: It is interesting, as you guys have been pointing out. It certainly hasn't been hurting his fundraising. Yesterday, he raised a lot of money online.
MALVEAUX: Yes. He says he's moving on. I don't think this story is going away any time soon. But, again, thank you, Wolf, and thank you, Robin.
MALVEAUX: It was just a really, really great interview you did there. I appreciate it.
MEADE: Thank you. And credit towards you for helping us get that. And credit to Mr. Cain for coming on.
MEADE: A lot of people may have run and hide, but he was there, and he was willing to be there for a half hour. So --
MALVEAUX: OK, good. Good job. Thanks again.
We're going to bring you up to speed on some of the other big stories of the day. We're also watching the Dow stocks. They're down now more than 250 points.
MALVEAUX: We want to get you up to speed on some of the other stories and the headlines starting with the death of Hillary Clinton's mother, Dorothy Rodham.
The Clinton Foundation says Mrs. Rodham died early today in Washington. Now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had canceled an overseas trip because her mother was sick. No word on details of the illness. Mrs. Rodham occasionally appeared with Clinton on the campaign trail during her 2008 presidential run. Dorothy Rodham was 92 years old.
A plane from Newark, New Jersey makes a dramatic emergency landing. Take a look at these pictures. This is out of Warsaw, Poland. You can see the plane had 230 people on board. It was having trouble with its landing gear. It circled the airport for about an hour before sliding down the runway in that kind of a belly flop landing there. Airport officials say that all the passengers, they are safe and no one was injured. Emergency crews sprayed the plane with some foam after the landing.
Well, after a great October, right, stock market is off to kind of a rough start for November. Markets are down sharply across the board. Right now we're looking at the Dow down more than 259 points. The snag and the debt deal in Europe has investors worried. In an unexpected move today, Greece announced plans on holding a public vote on whether or not to approve the deal.
Well, happening now in Iowa. Some of the Republican presidential candidates are addressing the National Association of Manufacturers. You're taking a look at some live pictures here. Michele Bachmann, she is speaking now. Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich all appearing at the forum as well. Each candidate is scheduled to appear for about 15 minutes or so.
So the Occupy movement is getting political. Protesters are targeting this kick off event of the 2012 election. It's the Iowa causes. Occupy Des Moines, it's called. Activists, they have invited groups across the country to converge on Iowa leading up to the caucus. Now they plan to occupy the campaign offices of every presidential candidate to focus attention on issues like corporate greed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a chance to really make it clear to the candidates that, again, they're not going to ignore us. They can not ignore us because we're going to be in their face.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that if we are able to get all the other occupations to send people here to support us, we can definitely show the candidates that we need them to listen to our voice.
MALVEAUX: We want to get more now on this movement in Iowa.
David Goodner, he is part of the "First in the Nation Caucus Occupation" movement. That is what it's called. He is joining us via Skype from Des Moines.
So, David, give us a sense of what your goal is here. Why are you going to, what you call, occupy the offices of all the presidential candidates?
DAVID GOODNER, FIRST IN THE NATION CAUCUS OCCUPATION: Our analysis of the situation is that posterity is a bipartisan consensus in this country. And so all the presidential candidates, including President Obama, are putting the interest of big banks and giant Wall Street corporations ahead of the interests of everyday people and hardworking families.
So we have a unique role here in Iowa as the first in the nation kickoff caucus. We're going to confront all the candidates, including Obama, and demand that they start putting people first.
MALVEAUX: And are you inviting people from across the country to join you? How do you imagine this working?
GOODNER: Well, I think we're going to start here with our folks in Iowa. We have a large basis of support in the state of Iowa, in our local communities. But we're also going to reach out to the wider Occupy Wall Street movement. This is a great chance to take the fight directly to some of the most powerful people on the planet. And if they keep touting to corporate power, we're going to call them and we're going to expose so that the American people know exactly where they stand.
MALVEAUX: And would you go when you go confront some of these presidential candidates. What would you like them to do? Would you like them to take your message or your vision and make it part of their campaigns or part of their debate or to do more than that?
GOODNER: They need to start talking about the issues. The bread and butter issues that matter to everyday people like jobs and housing. Corporate greed, getting the influence of big money out of politics, reclaiming our democracy from big money. Those are the issues that the Occupy Wall Street movement cares about and candidates need to be addressing those issues instead of talking about cutting social security and cutting education and privatizing and deregulating the environment. Those things are off the table.
We're demanding no cuts, no concessions. We did not cause this crisis, so Wall Street needs to pay for it.
MALVEAUX: All right, David Goodner, thank you so much. We'll be keeping a close eye on what happens out of Iowa as you all assemble there.
Thank you, David.
GOODNER: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: Well, he had a broken back, but it didn't stop one man from pulling his wife from a burning plane.
MALVEAUX: So after a great October, the stock market is off to a rough start for November. Markets are down sharply across the board. Right now, we're looking at the Dow down more than 269 points. The snag and the debt deal in Europe has some investors worried. In an unexpected move today, Greece announced plans to hold a public vote on whether to approve that deal.
MALVEAUX: It could be Friday before all the electricity is back on in the northeast. This morning more than a million and a half people in five states are still without power. Utility crews are scrambling to fix the damage from that freak snowstorm over the weekend.
In Thailand, the worst of the flooding in central Bangkok appears to be over now, but there's some outlining areas misery still rising along with the floodwaters. Authorities, they are warning about diseases and other dangers that are lurking in the water. Sara Sidner tells us that some people are just trying to get to dry ground.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What you are looking at is a road, but the road is covered with water. It looks more like a lake. What we're seeing is people getting boats, anything that floats basically and taking their belongings out of their residences.
This is a residential neighborhood. There are shops along this neighborhood as well. And people are seeing this water rise and rise and rise. There had been people who had to be rescued. You're seeing people getting into boats. That's the only way to make it across this stretch of the freeway.
MALVEAUX: We got amazing rescue story out of Canada. It's also a story about courage, determination and even the power of love. A man suffered a broken back during a plane crash in British Columbia, but in spite of his injury, he somehow manages to pull his wife out of the burning wreckage.
LORALIE SOBOLIK, PLANE CRASH SURVIVOR (via telephone): I just don't know how he did it. He pushes his strength and he just yanked and I felt my arms and he yanked me.
MALVEAUX: Unbelievable story.
Customers didn't like being charged to use their own debit cards, right? And they let their banks hear about it. Well, now, two more have gotten the message and we've got details from The New York Stock Change.
MALVEAUX: So it looks like customer outrage over debit card fees is actually paying off. This morning, two more major banks, they're backing down.
And Alison Kosik, she's at The New York Stock Exchange.
Alison, we've been all over this story since the banks made these announcements.
Customers had been furious. We are now getting this information just in from the Bank of America, essentially joining some of these other banks saying that response to customer concerns and the changing competitive marketplace, Bank of America no longer intends to implement a debit usage fee.
Clearly they got them listening --
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Surprise, right?
MALVEAUX: Yes. I mean, they seem to be listening to what folks are saying.
KOSIK: They do. You know, it's rare that you really see this kind of about face in the banking industry. So, yes, just moments ago, Bank of America making a big announcement after all of the outrage that Bank is America is going to go ahead and call off its $5 debit card fee for purchases, call that off all together.
You know, what's interesting is you see sort of how the turn of events happened. On Friday, Bank of America announced some customers could be exempt from it. They were going to try to make it easier for customers to escape the charges, but now Bank of America is just scrapping the idea all together.
So Bank of America joining other banks. Regions Bank says it's going to stop charging its $4 debit card fee beginning today and tomorrow SunTrust will stop charging its $5 fee.
Now with these, with SunTrust and Regions, this fee has already been in effect so customers of these banks say we will get refunds.
Now this of course follows JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, who said they would do the same. So, yes, it looks like everybody getting together and really expressing their outrage actually paid off for once, right Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: Well, we've been all over it, Alison, and we've been talking about it.
What do you suppose, do you think the Occupy movements also have something to do with this as well? Because big banks, they have been the target.
KOSIK: Well, you know, I think the banks certainly won't acknowledge that the Occupy protest had any effect. But it's definitely because of customer outrage. You know, all of these banks, you know, they are responding to customer feedback.
You know, there's a comment from CNN Money, from a reader, who said, "it shows that U.S. consumers in mass are one of the most powerful forces, and we are seeing that play out today. Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: And, Alison, real quick on the markets. What is happening here now that you've got this big sell-off because of new developments out of Greece?
KOSIK: Yes, exactly. We've got the Dow falling 287 points right now. What you see are investors spooked by a bombshell from Greece's prime minister. What he's asking is that Greek voters vote on this European debt plan that the markets rallied about last week.
This is after everybody thought the European debt plan was a done deal. So what this vote could wind up doing is it could throw a wrench in this European debt deal.
And here is what makes it even worse is that this referendum vote. It is not supposed to happen until January. So this is really going to drag that uncertainty out for yet a couple more months. So what you see here happen today, uncertainty and nervousness have returned to the U.S. markets. Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: OK, Alison, thank you very much.
Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, he is about to reveal whether or not he's going to take the stand in his own defense. He's on trial in Michael Jackson's death. More on that just moments away.