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November 6th, 2011
01:21 PM ET

ASK CANDY!: Supercommittee & Herman Cain coverage

Candy responds to viewer questions about today's episode of State of the Union

With the expectation so huge for the congressional super committee and the lobbyist power also huge and so strong, is the super committee doomed?

As it happens, I actually was at an event with a number of senators who were talking about the debt – or on a panel talking about the debt – and was surprised to find that the most pessimistic ones – and this is Republicans and Democrats – the most pessimistic ones said they’ll only get about $900 billion of the $1.2 trillion but they’ll make it up with X, Y and Z. Some people were thinking, oh, maybe there’s going to be a big deal – a $4 trillion plan. I doubt that but I was surprised because this panel included conservative Republicans, moderate Democrats, and their feeling was that the super committee would do something. And if for no other reason, then the alternative – at least in the interim period before they undo the alternative – is across the board cuts, which would hit the Defense Department and non-discretionary domestic spending. That is, things that aren’t required: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. So I don’t think it’s doomed. I think it’s a huge task. And I think that the product might be minimalist, but that it will happen. So let’s find out. In three weeks we’ll know. But that’s sort of what I think Brian.

John basically wants to know about the difference in reaction to a Democratic candidate involved in some kind of moral scandal and the reaction to a Republican candidate involved in a similar situation.

Let me start this out – I know this is a general question – just by pointing out that a lot of people have said well, President Clinton had the whole Monica Lewinsky thing and now here’s Herman Cain, so he can survive this. I would point out that people would argue that an intern cannot have a consensual affair – whatever you want to call it – with the president. But it was in fact a consensual thing that President Clinton ultimately admitted to. What we’re talking about with Herman Cain is alleged harassment in the workplace. Inappropriate remarks, it appears to be. So they’re two different things.

But in general, I agree with the premise that the reaction to Republicans who come up with things involving either extramarital affairs or in this case, alleged sexual harassment in the workplace, is different. But by and large, I think that with harassment, you would sort of see across the board, people condemning that. With extramarital affairs – and that’s not what Cain is accused of – just in general, with extramarital affairs,, there are more religious folks – defined as how many times they go to church – who call themselves Republicans voters than there are in the Democratic Party. So I think if you’re talking about voter reaction, I think it’s because there are more people who are self-described as religious voters in the Republican Party than the Democratic Party.

And I also think we just have to be careful defining what we’re talking about. Consensual sex versus harassment in the workplace. Harassment in the workplace is illegal. Consensual sex outside marriage – again, not Herman Cain’s particular problem at this point – tends to fall more into the voters who vote on the morality issues or what what they call morality or religious issues. And most of them tend to be in the Republican Party. I hope that answers it. If not, ask again next week.

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