(CNN) – The 2012 Republican presidential contenders will debate Wednesday night with accusations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain lurking as the elephant in the room.
While details of the allegations unraveled over the last 10 days, the GOP candidates remained largely mum. But during a series of interviews conducted by ABC and Yahoo News on Tuesday, most of the candidates were asked, sometimes repeatedly, to weigh into the controversy.
Here's where they stand on Cain's troubles:
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman: "It's a distraction and Herman Cain can deal with it however Herman Cain chooses to deal with it."
"Far be it for me to give Herman Cain any advice ... He'll have to address these issues as he will. As for me, I just want to focus on the issues that really matter to the American people."
Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota: "I don't have any information on these allegations whatsoever. I have absolutely nothing to contribute to that discussion."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry: "I think trying to make theoretical calls about issues that are dogging a particular campaign is not of great interest to me."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: "These are serious allegations, George. And they're going to have to be addressed seriously. I don't have any counsel for Herman Cain, for his campaign. They'll have to take their own counsel on this, but anytime there's an accuser that comes forward with charges of this nature, you recognize this is a very serious matter and it should be taken seriously."
Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania: "Obviously they're, they are very troubling. But these are things ... they're allegations. Herman has his opportunity to tell his side of the story and the American public can make a decision. I've already made my decision. I'm for Rick Santorum and that's where I am."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: "Clearly Herman Cain has to answer the charges. He has to explain what happened, he has to do so in a way that's convincing. And I think that's unavoidable. And I think that he both owes her that, but he also owes the American people that, and I think, I hope he can do it well. He's a good friend, and I hope that he has an answer that satisfies people, but he has to have an answer and it had better be accurate because if it's not accurate, it won't survive 24 hours."
Texas Rep. Ron Paul (on "Fox News Sunday," before two additional women came forward): "I think the media blew this way out of proportion … I think there are a thousand stories out on there, and I think that dilutes the real debates."