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2012: Cain feels the heat

BACHMANN: She didn’t rule out the use of force against Iran and said Iran is “the fundamental problem in the Middle East.”

CAIN: “During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group,” Politico reported last night.

The Boston Globe: “A spokesman for the Republican presidential candidate, who has vaulted to the top of some recent polls, denied the allegation to The Associated Press but declined repeated requests from Politico for a direct response to questions about whether his behavior prompted the payouts… Cain has several appearances in Washington planned for today. He is slated to discuss his “9-9-9” tax plan at the American Enterprise Institute, deliver a speech at the National Press Club, and hold a healthcare briefing on Capitol Hill.”

The New York Daily News: “Sexual harassment charges against Republican presidential contender Herman Cain surfaced Sunday, leaving him and his camp scrambling to knock them down.” Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said the allegations were ‘old and tired’ and ‘never stood up to the facts.’”

The New York Post’s headline: “Cain ‘sex’ bombshell.”

Of course, the news overshadowed that Cain leads in the Des Moines Register’s Iowa poll, released Saturday. Mitt Romney was a point behind him. The New York Post calls them the “Iowa barely-theres.”

And then there’s this from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, per Political Wire: “Herman Cain's two top campaign aides ran a private Wisconsin-based corporation that helped the GOP presidential candidate get his fledgling campaign off the ground by originally footing the bill for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for such items as iPads, chartered flights and travel to Iowa and Las Vegas - something that might breach federal tax and campaign law, according to sources and documents.”

The AP on the trail with Cain in Alabama ends its story with this quote from Cain: "I don't want no TV show." (Hat tip: GOP 12).

On CBS Face the Nation, Cain said of his smoking web video: “Mark Block smokes. That’s all that ad says. We weren’t trying to say it’s cool to smoke.” And this: With prompting from Schieffer, Cain did issue this public health disclaimer: “Young people of America, all people, do not smoke. It is hazardous and is dangerous to your health… Smoking is not a cool thing to do.”

And he stood by past statements in which he called Planned Parenthood, Planned Genocide, saying “it tried to put centers in black communities to kill black babies.” Planned Parenthood put out a statement responding saying about 10% of its centers are in predominately African-American communities, not a majority like Cain alleged.

And Cain’s the latest for Bad Lip Reading.

HUNTSMAN: “Even Jon Huntsman seemed amused by Izak the goat, who chewed a Huntsman sign outside the Republican presidential candidate’s town hall meeting,” the Boston Globe writes. “He remains far behind in all the polls, including here, where he is polling around 6 percent. Even some supporters doubt he can win. ‘Given our electorate … he doesn’t have a prayer of being elected,’ said Betty Wood, a retired independent voter from Dover. ‘He’s not conservative enough for the Republicans.’ Wood said she will vote for Huntsman in the primary – but President Obama in the general election, if Huntsman doesn’t win the nomination.”

Huntsman’s dad said this about him, per the Deseret News: "If he were running for president of China, he would have already won the election.” (Hat tip: GOP 12.)

PERRY: Here’s his second ad. It’s a gauzy, trailer-like video about his “Cut, Balance, and Grow” plan, featuring a near-endorsement from Rush Limbaugh.

The New York Times: “With time running short before the first votes are cast in the Republican presidential contest, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is urgently trying to convince voters that his candidacy warrants a second look. He is retooling his campaign with a newly emphatic anti-Washington message and steering the race into a sharper ideological contrast with Mitt Romney.”

“Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said today that he has changed his position on federal subsidies for nuclear energy,” the Boston Globe writes. “After asking the government for a federal loan guarantee for a Texas nuclear power plant, Perry now says he opposes using any federal money for energy subsidies. ‘I’ve changed my position from the standpoint of having any desire to have the federal government (involved),’ Perry said on Fox News Sunday.”

Perry gave a bit of a strange speech Friday that appeared to be almost an attempt at stand-up comedy.

ROMNEY: George Will on Romney, per GOP 12: “Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles… Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from ‘data’ ... Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for THIS?”

Michael Calderone looks at Romney limiting his national media exposure this time around. (Hat tip: Political Wire.)

RealClearPolitics’ McPike looked at the slow start last week: “Asked to compare the last election to the current one in terms of this new dynamic, Romney Deputy Campaign Manager Katie Gage said, ‘It's different. But it's more strategic. We don't have to introduce him as much because people know him.’ As for the field generally, Gage explained, ‘The leading candidates tend to be like a pace car.’ She said that four years ago, Romney and the others tended to follow early front-runner John McCain's lead, and he held a large number of events.”