In an interview Wednesday with NBC's David Gregory, the GOP’s top investigator in the House drew parallels between the sexual harassment allegations that Herman Cain is facing and Clarence Thomas' controversial Supreme Court confirmation hearings 20 years ago.
“Clarence Thomas at least had Anita Hill up front making an accusation,” House Oversight and Reform Chairman Darrell Issa said, seemingly referring to Cain’s two accusers who have not come forward publicly due to reported non-disclosure agreements that were settled when Cain was the head of the National Restaurant Association.
Issa, a former businessman, said that while he has never had a sexual harassment allegation levied against him, he has “seen them happen on [his] watch” at the companies in which he was involved. “I know that sometimes they’re real and sometimes they’re not. And I know that companies make a decision to make the problem go away to a mutually agreeable standard.”
“It appears as though that’s what Cain is dealing with,” Issa surmised.
“It has been tough to run for president and all the worst accusations are part of the process,” he continued, harking back to the time of President Andrew Jackson. “Andrew Jackson didn’t have a kind rise to the presidency; it is alleged, and [he] probably did kill his wife.”
Having already endorsed Mitt Romney for president, Issa sees Cain’s lack of governmental experience as a barrier to his White House hopes.
“To go directly from being a business man without substantial time in the government arena, both the vetting and the knowledge of it, is really hard. It’s virtually impossible. And that going directly to president seems to be a bridge too far.”
He acknowledged Romney’s lack of appeal within the GOP, saying that the Republican Party is “still out looking for better than whatever is in the field.”
Issa, however, made the case that -- unlike Cain -- Romney has the necessary experience. “You may not love Mitt Romney, he may not be the charismatic guy next door,” he said. “But you know what, he’s competent, and he’s been well-vetted and we know that he’ll administer in a way that that maybe we haven’t seen since Eisenhower.”
The California Republican also criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s jobs record, saying: “If all the credit you’re taking, is taking jobs from California, you don’t get a lot of credit.”
Watch the entire "PRESS Pass" interview with Issa to hear more of his thoughts on the 2012 race, Solyndra, and the recent ‘Fast & Furious’ investigation his committee has launched.