Continuing on with presidential primary coverage, the QVerity team was asked to analyze the statements of Herman Cain, who is, once again, in the news over allegations about his alleged sexual proclivities. In the wake of the most recent allegations against him, he gave an interview to Wolf Blitzer (or "Blitz" as Mr. Cain likes to call him).
The QVerity team analyzed this interview and found some significant deceptive indicators, as you will see. Special acknowledgement for their role in this analysis goes to deception detection experts Phil Houston, Susan Carnicero and Don Tennant.
Despite his best efforts, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain appears to still be struggling with telling the truth. In the face of new sexual allegations levied against him, Cain told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Nov. 28 that he wanted to go on the show “to give you a heads-up, and your audience a heads-up, here we go again.” QVerity analysts believe that in doing so the only “heads-up” Cain provided was his intention to withhold significant information regarding the allegations of a 13-year affair with Atlanta businesswoman Ginger White.
A behavioral analysis of the interview reflects an extremely high volume of deceptive behavior exhibited by Cain. There are three significant observations that can be made from our analysis:
1. It is highly likely that Cain was involved in a sexual relationship with White.
2. It is almost certain that there are other relationships of this nature in his past.
3. Cain’s campaign team recognizes the validity of Observations 1 and 2, and has developed a strategy to combat White and future accusers.
Let’s look at how Cain’s behavior supports each of the three observations.
Observation 1: In his opening statements about White, Cain begins by saying, “This individual is going to accuse me of an affair for an extended period of time.” When people are faced with an accusation that alleges wrongdoing or inappropriate behavior, they can’t wait to say directly that they didn’t do it. It is the most important fact that they want to get out on the table. If Cain didn’t have an affair with this woman, this is the first and most natural point in the interview to say so. He fails to do so here and at a number of other key points in the interview.
The other significant behavior that reflects Cain’s likely culpability in this matter relates to statements made during the interview that send a message that he doesn’t realize he’s sending. When he says to Blitzer, “Remember that the first two [accusations] were baseless – they were false accusations. They were not able to prove it,” Cain is not denying that he had an affair. He is simply saying here that he doesn’t believe she can prove it. The fact that this unintended message is repeated several times during the interview leads us to believe that Observation 1 is very likely correct.
Observation 2: During the interview, as Cain attempts to convince the world of his innocence, he makes several statements that raise the likelihood of affairs or sexual relationships with other women. These statements include:
• “I expected this kind of stuff when I made the decision to run for President of the United States of America.”
• “A hundred thousand people could possibly come out.”
• “Do I know of any that might come out? Not off the top of my head.”
• “But you have to look at my entire life and wonder, it's probably an infinite number of people who could come forward with a story.”
• “So I can't possibly say that somebody else might not come up with it.”
These five statements seem to clearly reflect Cain’s knowledge that other women are waiting in the wings.
Observation 3: If Observations 1 and 2 from QVerity’s analysis are correct, then Cain, of all people, knows the validity of those observations as well, and therefore certainly understands the potential ramifications to his campaign. If Cain believes he can manage the fallout related to his alleged sexual dalliances, as it appears he does, than the interesting question from both a behavioral and a political standpoint is how he’s going to do that. Fortunately, Cain’s behavior in the interview with Blitzer affords us some clues.
The most significant clue can be found in Cain’s closing statement when he says, “After I go to this fundraiser that I’m committed to go to with supporters, I’m going to have me a nice steak dinner tonight. Because if you’ve done nothing wrong, I’m going to continue my routine as normal, as planned.”
If behavioral analysts were to write a textbook on how to lie effectively, this might be Rule No. 2. Rule No. 1, of course, would be “Don’t admit anything,” followed by Rule No.2, which is, “Always maintain the appearance of innocence.” Cain is trying hard to follow Rule No. 2, as evidenced by his statement to Blitzer, “I don’t want to get into being pinned down on some things until we see what the story’s going to be.” Cain also says, “And because of the previous false accusations, we have decided how we’re going to handle it. And we’re going to handle it detail by detail, accusation by accusation, through my attorney, Lin Wood.”
Cain’s statements clearly reveal his expectation of more allegations to come, and his strategy for handling them. Part of that strategy will also be to get out in front of the accusations, and to try to convince the public of his innocence before there’s a full airing of them. Once the accusations come out, he’ll handle them one by one, and see how long he can stay afloat.
Cain may well have a book on how to look truthful on his bookshelf. But based on the high volume of deceptive indicators seen in this CNN interview, it appears that he hasn’t managed to read the whole book.