TPM News

Updated at 5:19 PM Herman Cain says he had no idea the National Restaurant Association ever reached a financial settlement with two women who accused him of inappropriate behavior because he delegated the investigation to the company's general counsel and top HR official. But that story is starting to show cracks.

According to Debra S. Katz, an attorney at Katz, Marshall & Banks, LLP who specializes in sexual harassment cases, the notion that Cain could insulate himself from any knowledge of the investigation and its results is hard to believe.

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The Justice Department filed suit on Monday to block South Carolina's immigration law, saying that the law interfered with the federal government's supremacy on the issue of immigration.

South Carolina's statute, enacted on June 27, criminalizes the presence of an illegal immigrant in the state. DOJ's complaint says that the Constitution and federal law "do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country." South Carolina's law, DOJ officials claimed, "clearly conflicts with the policies and priorities adopted by the federal government and therefore cannot stand."

"Pushing undocumented immigrants out of one state to another is simply not a solution to our immigration problems," DOJ Assistant Attorney General Tony West said in a press call on Monday. "We believe South Carolina's law... crosses the constitutional line."

West mentioned that DOJ has had discussions with the Attorney Generals of Utah, Georgia and Indiana about their immigration laws.

"The United States will decide whether and when the bring lawsuits challenging particular state laws," West said.

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Poor Rick Santorum. As if it wasn't hard enough on him to see his name turned into a filthy internet joke, he's failed to make a splash in the GOP debates. All this from a former Senator who (as he likes to remind us) once won Pennsylvania by six points! True, he once lost it by eighteen points too, but why dwell on that?

In today's episode, Benjy Sarlin wonders why - despite being well-versed in the art of victimhood - Santorum just can't seem to make himself stick.

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Herman Cain may be dealing with the toughest news cycle of his presidential campaign, but he doesn't have to face it alone. Conservative pundits across the country are quickly rallying to his defense.

Rush Limbaugh led the charge on Monday morning, saying that media was using "the ugliest racial stereotypes they can to attack a black conservative."

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Ed Rollins, Michele Bachmann's former top campaign aide, continued his escalating criticisms of his former client on FOX News Monday, calling the campaign a "mess."

"It was a mess. It wasn't going to work," he told Shepard Smith. "I didn't think it would work and I didn't want to spend six months at my age in Iowa. She understood. She was fine. We have had a nice relationship"

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Herman Cain told the crowd at the National Press Club Monday something he's said many times before: His rise in the polls is evidence once and for all that the tea party and conservative Republicanism is, officially, Not Racist.

Cain put a slightly different spin on the story at the Press Club, condemning those on the left who he said say people like him because he's black -- a kind of reverse diversity in which racist whites get behind Cain to show that they're not racist.

White people, Cain said, just aren't that conniving.

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It didn't take much to get Herman Cain to sing for the crowd gathered at the National Press Club in Washington Monday. The frontrunner for the Republican nomination, faced with the full-fledged frontrunner's scandal, stood before the crowd here and again denied the allegations he sexually harassed two female employees while the head of the National Restaurant Association.

He also sang a hymn where he asked for forgiveness for his faults. It was an interesting public appearance for a presidential candidate.

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UPDATE: 5:30pm Eastern - Herman Cain's claim that he did not know whether any money was paid out in at least one of the sexual harassment cases is starting to show some cracks. And he's actually making some of them himself. Details are leaking out over what will be in tonight's interview with Fox News' Greta van Susteren. It doesn't quite gibe with his earlier story. Click here for details.

Herman Cain confirmed on Monday that he was, in fact, accused of sexual harassment while CEO of the National Restaurant Association. But somehow, word never reached him that the cases were resolved with a cash settlement. Nor is he too interested in finding out what happened after the fact.

"If the restaurant association did a settlement I am not -- I wasn't even aware of it and I hope it wasn't for much, because nothing happened," he said on FOX News. "So if there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers that worked for me at the association."

He elaborated on his explanation in an appearance at the National Press Club later that day, saying that he was out of the loop regarding any final compensation deal after handing the matter over to others at the company.

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