Ginger White On Her Media Coverage: ‘In Your Face, America’
Lauren Ashburn and Howard Kurtz
Nearly a year after being battered by the media in the heat of a presidential campaign, Ginger White says she plans to prove that she had a 13-year affair with Herman Cain.
The businesswoman, still smarting from what she believes was an unfair press assault on her character, is writing a book.
The disclosures in the book could prompt the former presidential candidate “to be a little more honest with his wife, because the details that I share, only she would know,” White told Daily Download. She says this would include “physical attributes, scars and marks.” Cain has strongly denied having anything other than a friendship with White.
By her own account, White has made mistakes and struggled in life. She is not contesting a slander suit by a former business associate that she says is prompting her to prepare a bankruptcy filing. At times, her description of her relationship with Cain sounds mercenary.
But Ginger White provides a case study in what happens to a woman who comes forward in the vortex of a national scandal, becomes the subject of intense and often unflattering media scrutiny, and then disappears from public view. Cain now hosts an Atlanta radio show and appears on cable news as a political commentator. White disappeared from public view and only recently found a job.
Lin Wood, Cain’s attorney, questioned why an interview with White would still be newsworthy. “Herman Cain has consistently and unequivocally denied the accusations by Ms. White,” he says. “They are not true. The fact that Ms. White continues to seek media attention for herself from her new residence in Washington, D.C., raises additional and disturbing questions about her credibility, her motive and her real agenda in making these false allegations.”
When she publishes the book, White says, her reaction will be: “In your face, America. Because you put me through hell. You called me everything you could call me…Women are always kicked under the bus when something like this happens. Always. Never, ever, ever are we ever believed.”
White, 46, was poised during the interview but also clearly anguished over the events that turned her life upside down, still hoping that she can force Cain to acknowledge her version of events. Cain has said he helped her financially as a friend and that his wife did not know about the payments.
While acknowledging that she was “getting all this help from Herman Cain”—as much as $6,000 a month, she says—White was emphatic in declaring: “I am not a hooker. I am not a prostitute.” And she shared her philosophy about dealing with the men she says were constantly coming on to her:
“Most men, especially in corporate America, or most married men oftentimes, start these extramarital affairs and then they’re like, ‘I’ve got everything I want and need. I’ve got a loving wife at home. I’ve got kids. And I’ve got a nice little hottie on the side, too.’
“My thing was, okay, I’ll take advantage of you before you take advantage of me. Let’s flip the script. I’m not gonna be your nice little hottie…You want to take my time away from my kids, my family, I’m going to make you sort of pay for it just a little bit. I know that sounds harsh.”
For all her frustration about how the melodrama played out, White, a single mother of two, says she felt compelled to come forward after Politico reported complaints that Cain had sexually harassed other women years ago. Cain has repeatedly denied harassing anyone; his employer reached legal settlements with two women, one for $45,000 and the other for $35,000.
By contrast, says White, “I was willing. I was a willing participant and I take responsibility for that.” When people express disbelief at her conduct, she says, “you know what? It happens every day, and this is life. Now I feel so much more empowered to say to those bloggers who sit in their dark room at night on their computer, writing horrible things…I’m glad I did it and I would do it again.”
Asked about the money she received during the on-and-off relationship, she says “it was thrown at me in the beginning. When I first met Herman I never asked him for money. It was probably a couple of hours from the time we met at this cocktail party that he was checking his calendar to see when I could fly to West Palm…to spend some time with him.” But if he fell behind on the payments, “sometimes I would remind him.”
White says she never loved Cain. Then was he the means to an end?
“The more I heard how he felt about things, the less engaged I became. I’m thinking, this is horrible. This is a man I used to like that I can hardly stand right now. He has a very controlling personality.”
Wood, Cain’s lawyer, says Cain abandoned his campaign because of “the vicious media frenzy” that “was causing pain to his family, and it seemed there would be no end in sight despite no new information…I find it regrettable to this day that the media branded Mr. Cain ‘guilty’ in the court of public opinion based on nothing more than its self-created frenzy based on unproven and unsupported accusations from a very questionable source.”
White, for her part, says she is finishing her book with the help of a ghostwriter and is in talks with publishers.
“It was shocking that people didn’t believe me,” White says. “Why would I lie? Who would want to put themselves in a position such as that?”
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