Nashua, N.H. -- Herman Cain said at a campaign rally Thursday afternoon that it was a newspaper, not his campaign, that nixed a meeting with its editors this morning, a cancellation which Cain said he wasn't disappointed about.
Amid an ongoing war of words, Cain told supporters in Nashua: "You aren't going to believe it, but they canceled,"
The "they" to whom Cain referred were editors of the New Hampshire Union Leader, an influential paper in the Granite State, which hosts the nation's first primary contest on Jan. 10. Stopping to meet with the paper's editors has become a pasttime for presidential candidates, who usually agree to have the sessions on camera.
When asked by NBC News if he was disappointed to miss an opportunity to meet with the Union Leader, Cain simply said, "Nope."
Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon detailed their side of the saga, telling NBC News that the paper "cancelled with one of our advance staff at approximately 9:00 a.m. today."
Gordon said the campaign and newspaper had been discussing "the length and format of the interview since Monday."
Perhaps the only thing on which the campaign and Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid agreed was that Cain's representatives requested to schedule a meeting lasting only 20 minutes and without video, significantly shorter than the traditional hourlong session, usually with C-SPAN cameras present.
"We are looking to reschedule the next time we visit New Hampshire," Gordon told NBC News.
However, the publisher who helms the paper might not be quick to agree. McQuaid said there are limited opportunities for such meetings before the holidays and January 10 primary.
Cain, who claims today was his 22nd visit to New Hampshire, also called editorial board meetings "optional" on the campaign trail.
This two-day controversy with New Hampshire's only statewide paper comes as Cain made his first trip back to the state since several women emerged to allege sexual harassment of Cain during his time as head of the National Restaurant Association.
Cain also publicly addressed other doubts plaguing his campaign. He indirectly responded to his recent Libya gaffe by defending his foreign policy credentials in his speech at the rally. Cain said the next president does not need to know "every detail" about every country in the world. Instead he would hire a team of experts.
"We need a leader, not a reader!" he exclaimed at a rally, for which he was an hour late. The crowd was thinner – at about 100 attendees – than Cain’s campaign had initially advertised.
Cain then turned to the recent allegations of sexual harassment, arguing that they did not matter to his supporters.
"The people that are on the Cain train they don't get off because of that crap," Cain said.
The former pizza magnate flies to New York City tonight to tape an appearance with David Letterman.