Cain-Gingrich debate organizer: There will be no harassment ‘gossip’ at the event

Chris Moody
·Political Reporter

Herman Cain will finish what has been his toughest week on the Republican presidential campaign trail on Saturday in Texas, where he is scheduled to debate fellow candidate Newt Gingrich. But there will be no talk of the sexual harassment allegations that have plagued Cain's campaign since Politico first reported on them over the weekend.

"The focus of this event is not about gossip," said Julie Turner, president of Texas Tea Party Patriots PAC, the group hosting the discussion, in an interview with Yahoo News. "It's going to be about entitlement reform."

Gingrich and Cain have agreed to a modified "Lincoln-Douglas" style debate about their plans to reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, loosely based on the format used by Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln in a series of debates in 1858. Steve King, a Republican representative from Iowa, and Ben Streusand, the chairman of the advisory board for the Texas chapter of Americans for Prosperity, will moderate.

The Texas Tea Party Patriots PAC is holding the forum near Houston as a fundraiser, and is charging up to $1,000 per ticket. General admission is $200, but the debate will be broadcast on C-SPAN. Turner said the group had already sold at least 300 tickets.

The event will offer Cain a respite from the media's focus on his tenure as president of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, letting him speak in public, at length about topics not related to the harassment allegations.

"They'll have extensive time to debate back and forth on the merits of each others' plans," Turner said. "No more talking points. It's going to be far deeper."

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