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Cain misses meeting with Union Leader editors

NASHUA and CONCORD, N.H. -- Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain didn't show up for his meeting Thursday morning with the editors of the New Hampshire Union Leader. That much is not in dispute.

But both the paper and Cain's campaign accused the other of canceling the meeting, which came on the heels of a dispute over whether the interview, a right of passage for presidential candidates stumping in New Hampshire, would be videotaped.

Cain's campaign had told the Union Leader that it would not sit for an interview where cameras from C-SPAN were present. The move to shut out cameras came after a stumbling answer earlier this week during an editorial board meeting with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which was on camera.

Union Leader Publisher Joe McQuaid, who arranges the meetings, said that the Cain campaign had sought to change the parameters of the meeting. Cain's campaign called Wednesday to say they would only do "a twenty minute media availability," McQuaid said.

"We go into some depth with the candidate on his or her views in these meetings so we said 20 will not cut it. It is an hour or nothing," McQuaid said by phone. "So they did not show up. Apparently they drove right past the building."

McQuaid said that Cain's campaign never formally canceled the meeting.

But Cain campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon told NBC News that it was the Union Leader who called off the interview.  When asked why members of the publication's staff were tweeting about waiting for Cain and that it was the candidate who bailed, Gordon said, “I have to get them on the phone.”

Gordon said it was a scheduling issue that essentially caused the Union Leader to cancel and they hope to do the interview at a later date.

The former Godfather's Pizza CEO is in New Hampshire to promote his candidacy with first-in-the-nation primary voters. He met with Secretary of State Bill Gardner earlier in the state, where he placed third, at eight percent, in a Bloomberg News poll of primary voters.

"MItt Romney has a very huge lead. We knew that. So our objective is to close that gap," Cain said earlier in the morning with Gardner, before the Union Leader flap. "He has a really big lead. So we're going to work hard to close that gap that he currently has."

But Cain might not have an opportunity to make up lost ground, at least with the Union Leader.

"We have lots of other meetings and it is getting close to the primary. With the holiday, Mr. Cain may not be able to come in," McQuaid said.