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Who wouldn’t sing to the scores of reporters clinging to your every word? Not GOP front runner Herman Cain, that’s who! Cain ended a speech this afternoon at the National Press Club with a beautiful rendition of “He Looked Beyond My Fault.”
Even more interesting than that, however, is what journalists on the scene say happened after his remarks.
According to one reporter, after Cain’s speech, the candidate went through a back way to the second level of the Press Club, and the throngs of reporters waiting in the lobby tried to head up the main staircase to meet him. That’s when an NPC staffer blocked the staircase and announced that only reporters carrying a current Press Club membership card would be allowed access to the second level.
An NPC staffer I spoke to on the phone denied that reporters were kept away. But Slate’s Dave Weigel confirmed via email the other reporter’s account, writing: “Cain was on the top level in a room guarded by bodyguards. Non-members of the NPC were not allowed up, and even NPC members were kept away.”
It’s bizarre, to say the least, to hear of a club for the press limiting press access to the current front-runner for a major party nomination, especially considering that the NPC must have been aware that Cain would be a huge draw after today’s Politico story alleging complaints of sexual harassment against him. Even if some of the reporters covering the speech were current members, after all, they might not be carrying their cards with them at all times.
Photo by eszter via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License