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Cain camp: Secret Service detail 'has nothing to do with the media'

 

Herman Cain's campaign is pushing back against the suggestion it requested Secret Service protection as a way to keep media at bay and limit the access reporters will have to the candidate.

"It has nothing to do with the media, it has nothing to do with reporters," campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon said of the request for Secret Service protection.

Gordon said the campaign had requested protection "a couple weeks ago" after having received a series of threats. But Gordon said he would not comment on the nature of the threats or any specific instances.

Gordon's comment to NBC News came after a report by the Washington Post, in which Gordon seemed to indicate that the members of the media trailing his campaign were contributors to the decision to request a Secret Service detail.

Cain's Secret Service detail began last night, though the number of agents assigned to his detail or the extent of resources devoted to the former Georgia businessman is still unknown.

The news came just a day after reports had emerged of multiple altercations involving journalists covering Cain in Florida on Wednesday. In one instance, a reporter was struck by a man who later revealed himself as a plainclothes police officer.  At an earlier stop that day, a video journalist yelled at the media scrum for shoving her.

Gordon said Secret Service can help prevent those situations from happening again, but they did not spur the campaign to make the request.

The Cain campaign has had noticeable growing pains as the candidate has risen from the bottom towards the top of the polls, one of the biggest of which has been dealing with the increased media attention.

Events have been scheduled at venues that cannot accomodate both supporters and the media. Rarely is space set aside for cameras to film open press events.

Local police will often be called to assist with crowd control and protection -- as was the case in Florida this week. But when Cain works the crowd after speeches, he is usually surrounded only by one security guard and a member of his staff.  He will frequently field questions from the media scrum surrounding him, causing reporters to jostle for position.

But Gordon said the popularity of Cain is a large part of the problem.

"There is an intense interest in Mr. Cain that you don't see for other candidates," he said.