Maria Batiroma and John Harwood, the CNBC moderators for tonight’s GOP presidential debate at Oakland University, say they will raise the issue of the sexual harassment charges against Herman Cain, but don’t expect the controversy to dominate the give-and-take.
Speaking at a breakfast session sponsored by the Michigan Republican Party — at which I was also a panelist — the two said they have discussed how to ask the question, considering the debate is supposed to center on the economy.
Harwood noted it would be difficult to avoid the issue currently dominating the Republican campaign, and that character is a legitimate concern even when discussing the economy.
Neither expected Cain’s opponents to jump on the issue, however. Harwood said Cain’s opponents recognize his popularity with the tea party, and don’t want to risk alienating its followers by appearing to pile on.
Devin Scillian, news anchor for WDIV-TV Ch. 4, another panelist, asked the audience of GOP loyalists at the Royal Park Hotel whether they thought the question should come up.
Only two people raised their hands.