If Herman Cain was looking forward to a less stressful week on the campaign trail, he’s got another thing coming. Yesterday, a fourth woman came forward with very specific allegations of impropriety against Cain, which are more along the lines of sexual assault:
A Chicago woman accused Herman Cain of sexually inappropriate behavior Monday, claiming at a news conference that the presidential candidate pushed her to perform a sex act in exchange for his help in landing a job while he ran the National Restaurant Association.
In stepping forward, Sharon Bialek, a middle-aged single mother who appeared with celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred in New York, became the first woman to speak on the record about what she claims happened over a decade ago.
Bialek said she met Cain for dinner in the summer of 1997 after she had lost her job at a foundation affiliated with the National Restaurant Association. She told the packed press conference that the incident took place in a car after a dinner meeting in Washington.
“[H]e suddenly reached over and put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals,” said Bialek, a Chicago native who worked for the foundation for roughly six months in 1997, according to the NRA.“He also grabbed my head and pushed it toward his crotch.”
When she arrived in Washington to meet Cain, Bialek said she found he had upgraded her hotel suite. Cain took her to dinner at an Italian restaurant, then drove over to see the National Restaurant Association headquarters. But Cain stopped the car outside the group’s office and made an advance, she said.
Bialek says she told Cain at the time: “What are you doing, you know I have a boyfriend, this isn’t what I came here for.”
Bialek said Cain said, “You want a job, don’t you?”
The fact that Gloria Allred, a very committed Democrat, is assisting this woman is cause enough for many Republicans to cast these accusations aside. Cain’s own staff taunted Allred in advance of the presser where Ms. Bialek made her statement. That skepticism isn’t unwarranted, but Democrats aren’t doing a coordinated hit job on Cain. There is no reason for them to do so since Cain really isn’t a threat to Barack Obama.
What hurt Cain the most last week wasn’t the past allegations, rather the response to the media’s coverage of them. Cain’s campaign incoherent and inconsistant in the story. Granted, Cain has managed to keep his numbers high in the face of controversy as Republicans weren’t all concerned with the accusations. And while I’m not that big a fan of Cain, I had a hard time believing the previous charges largely because the initial reports were vague; though Cain confirmed that the complaints against him did indeed exist.
The bad news for Cain, who has denied all of the allegations, with this recent development is that at least part of Bialek’s backstory appears to checkout, according to Allahpundit:
[Allred] says Bialek won’t accept money for this story and, more noteworthy, claims that she has sworn affidavits from two people who say Bialek told them about the alleged incident with Cain around the time that it happened in 1997. She won’t reveal their names — yet — but she did supposedly read the affidavits to reporters after today’s presser. Oh, and according to John Nolte of Big Hollywood, it turns out Bialek is indeed a registered Republican and that she did in fact attend “Teacon” in Chicago last month, as she claimed.
What’s more, the lawyer for one of the former employees at the NRA that did file a formal compliant told the media that the “conduct is similar.”
Bialek’s charge obviously cannot be proven one way or the other, but ignoring them and hiding from the media doesn’t strike me as a good idea either, which is why Cain has called a press conference today to take these charges head on; something he should have done a week ago.
What will the GOP electorate do with the latest news? Who knows, but I’m not believing any poll I see over the next few days.