GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain is facing a media frenzy after women have come forward accusing him of sexual harassment while he was at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. But despite the seriousness of the charges, Cain has said he is moving on with his campaign and continues to deny anything untoward happened between him and his accusers.
In light of Cain's recent drama, GlobalPost has taken a look back at some of the top scandals that have plagued international political candidates through the years. Some, like Cain, powered through their own mix of allegations and came out on top. Others, though, are still trying to live down their misdeeds.
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1. Jacob Zuma
South African President Jacob Zuma faced a scandal in 2006 after a 31-year-old family friend accused him of rape, according to BBC. Zuma was eventually cleared of the charge after a trial in Johannesburg.
Though many of Zuma’s supporters stuck by the leader’s side during the case, analysts said at the time that the trial had badly damaged his reputation.
"What South Africans seem to be saying is, 'We are fine with the fact that he has three wives, we are fine with that. But if he has another child, it's a sign he is unable to control his passions,' " Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, an Africa analyst for New York-based policy think tank Eurasia Group, told ABC News.
2. John Edwards
No, not the sex scandal — much of the blow up about John Edwards’ affair and child with filmmaker Rielle Hunter came after he left the race for president in 2008.
But how about a $400 haircut? Or a $1,250 hair cut, according to CBS, for Edwards because his stylist had to be flown to Atlanta from Beverly Hills? The hair cuts were originally paid for by Edwards’ presidential campaign, Slate reported.
"He has nice hair," Edwards’ stylist Joseph Torrenueva said, according to CBS. "I try to make the man handsome, strong, more mature."
The news also led to a YouTube spoof showing Edwards combing his locks to the song “I Feel Pretty.”
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3. Rich Iott
Tea Party favorite Rich Iott gained national attention during the 2010 US House elections for his habit of dressing up as in a German Waffen-SS uniform and participating in Nazi re-enactments. The group he was involved in, called Wiking, is dedicated to a real Nazi division, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, according to The Atlantic.
Following that tidbit, the campaign didn’t go so well for Iott in northwest Ohio’s 9th District.
Iott, for his part, said his Nazi costume is a result of “purely historical interest in World War II,” and he does not subscribe to Nazi beliefs, according to The Atlantic.
4. Anwar Ibrahim
Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been battling allegations of sodomy since a Malaysian court first sentenced him to prison in 2000, according to BBC.
Ibrahim became a strong critic of Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad after close ties with the leader early on in Ibrahim’s political career.
Ibrahim was arrested and sentenced to six years in prison in 1999 for corruption, and the following year he was sentenced to nine years for sodomy. Though the second conviction was overturned in 2004 and Ibrahim was released from prison, he was arrested again in 2008 in connection to the sodomy of a 25-year-old male aide, the Guardian reported.
Sodomy, even among consenting adults, is illegal in Malaysia.
5. Christine O’Donnell
After accusations of dabbling in witchcraft, former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell launched a campaign ad addressing that issue during the 2010 election season.
“I’m not a witch, I’m nothing you’ve heard, I’m you,” she said in the ad.
According to CNN, O’Donnell later admitted that the ad was a mistake.
6. Barack Obama
President Obama, at the time a senator, found himself having to distance himself from his pastor in 2008 after reviews of the reverend’s sermons revealed inflammatory remarks against the US.
Obama, of course, went on to win the 2008 presidential election, but not before describing Rev. Jeremiah Wright as “an old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with.”
Among Wright’s controversial quotes:
"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon, according to ABC News. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."
7. Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s hopes to become the French Socialist presidential candidate were derailed after a hotel housekeeper accused him of sexual assault, according to The New York Times.
Then, French novelist Tristane Banon claimed Strauss-Kahn attempted to rape her in a Paris apartment in 2003, the Guardian reported.
Both cases were eventually dismissed after criminal investigations, but Strauss-Kahn remains a pariah after already being replaced as the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
8. Henry Tang
In Hong Kong, the former chief secretary for administration Henry Tang was expected to succeed Donald Tsang as the leader of the government. However, Tang left his position in 2011 amid allegations that he cheated on his wife.
Tang admitted the accusations were true in early October and made a show of remorse during a press conference, China Daily reported.
Though he is still believed to run for the chief executive position in 2012, his resignation from his former post may be a distracting issue on the campaign trail.
9. Gary Hart
Gary Hart announced the beginning of his second presidential campaign in 1987, and less than a month later, was embroiled in extramarital affair allegations, thanks to the Miami Herald.
The newspaper had published photos of a woman leaving Hart’s home that started the controversy, and a week later published photos of 29-year-old model Donna Rice sitting on his lap. The paper had also received tips that the candidate had visited the Bimini Islands with a woman who was not his wife, according to Time.
Hart abandoned the race only a week later, though he unsuccessfully tried to re-enter later.
10. George W. Bush
Former President George W. Bush's "one finger victory salute" has been immortalized in video, print and Internet memes.
While preparing for a television interview during his term as Texas governor, Bush flipped off the camera after talking about how an adviser was still telling him what to do. In the background of the video, you can hear someone off-camera joke, "Are we rolling tape on that?"
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