Mired in accusations of sexual harassment, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain told reporters, “(D)on’t even bother me asking me all of these other questions that you all are curious about. Don’t even bother.”

Cain had been speaking — campaigning — to a group of health-care professionals and, reasonably, wanted to talk about health-care policy, or at least not about the persistent allegations.

Candidates have every right to refuse to comment or to say, “I won’t be answering questions about sexual harassment at this event.” They have every right to try to guide conversation to topics they want to discuss.

Reporters ask, candidates spin; that is the relationship they have. Candidates do not have the power to control the questions asked of them.

Voters will form their own opinions, as they did about President Bill Clinton and many other politicians accused, with varying degrees of proof, of sexual misconduct. Some will conclude that the allegations are false.

Others will decide this is not their business. Some will be sufficiently disturbed to reconsider their support of Cain. And some will decide that even if the candidate has sexually harassed co-workers in the past, he is the best candidate available right now.

All those voters should be able to make their decisions based on factual information, and they deserve to hear the candidate address hard questions to the best of his ability.

— The Durango Herald,

Colorado, Nov. 7

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