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November 07, 2011 2:50 PM And then there were four

By Steve Benen

We learned a week ago about two women who worked at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment. After several contradictory responses, Cain denied the accuracy of the allegations.

Soon after, a third woman described behavior from Cain that she considered “aggressive and unwanted,” including a “private invitation to his corporate apartment.”

But the public did not see or hear from any of these women directly. That changed this afternoon when a fourth alleged victim held a press conference.

Sharon Bialek, a former employee of the National Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation and a registered Republican, told reporters Monday that Cain treated her inappropriately in 1997 when she was no longer in the organization but was approaching Cain for advice.

At a press conference hosted by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, Bialek described an incident after dinner in 1997 in Washington DC when she said Cain reached up her skirt and tried to force her head to his crotch while the pair were in Cain’s car.

The Republican presidential candidate has denied these allegations, describing them as “false.”

As Bialek describes the events, Cain said, “You wanted a job, right?” when he made these sexual advances.

There are lawyers who can speak to this better than I can, but these allegations would seem to go well beyond sexual harassment, and sound more like sexual assault.

Also note, Bialek said she told her then-boyfriend and another longtime friend about the incident when it occurred, and sworn statements from those men would appear to lend additional credibility to the claim.

At today’s press conference, Bialek challenged Cain: “Come clean.”

I’m not in a position to evaluate the merit of the claims against Cain. I would note, however, that (a) the number of accusers matters; (b) it seems unlikely all four are part of a coordinated, 15-year campaign organized by the media, liberals, racists, the D.C. establishment, and Rick Perry.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • stormskies on November 07, 2011 2:55 PM:

    And his followers and the Repiglicans will donate even more money, approve of even more ...this is the state of what are called Repiglicans today .... a psychological state of complete denial of actual reality, and replace actual reality with a set of interlocking delusions that do not permit actual facts to penetrate ..to do so would require that they are wrong ..and if they are wrong about even one thing then they entire delusional reality will collapse like dominoes. So they just keep reinforcing their delusions with one after to other to remain convinced that, of course, they are right. Just ask the ultimate evil scum bag Rush Limpballs ....

  • zandru on November 07, 2011 2:55 PM:

    Yes, this goes well beyond the "women unable to accept a compliment" story that's been promoted by the reactionary right...

  • berttheclock on November 07, 2011 3:05 PM:

    Unfortunately, stormskies is, probably,correct. However, interesting that only this AM, Cain's campaign announced they were, finally, able to get their message back on track.

    Great selection of an attorney to represent you, Ms Bialek, as Ms Allred is an excellent advocate.

  • nodak on November 07, 2011 3:30 PM:

    Why does it seem like these Tea Party Repukes accept sexual harassment as a norm and not a problem if Cain or any other tea party type does it. Would most of these Repukes be so accepting if it was their daughter, their sister, their wife who Cain was trying to feel up????

  • nitpicker on November 07, 2011 3:31 PM:

    Knock knock, Ms. Bialek. Michelle Malkin and the rest of the right wing blogosphere is here to inspect your countertops.

  • Zorro on November 07, 2011 3:36 PM:

    it seems unlikely all four are part of a coordinated, 15-year campaign organized by the media, liberals, racists, the D.C. establishment, and Rick Perry.

    I can't really speak to a 15-year media, liberal, racist, or DC establishment plot, but I think we can say w/100% certainty that there's no way in hell that Rick Perry could devise a plot that takes any longer than 5 minutes to conclude.

    And that's probably giving Gov. Goodhair too much credit.

    -Z

  • Hedda Peraz on November 07, 2011 3:47 PM:

    Oh, puleese. "force her head to his crotch"?
    This event was just the Beta roll-out of Mister Cain's "jobs" bill.

  • POed Lib on November 07, 2011 3:56 PM:

    Plus, when the pig Cain was at a Repuekeliscum location - a Conservative talk show - he asked a female staffer "Darling, can you doctor up my tea for me?" The conservative radio show host was very concerned. Cain is a pig. There is a huge pattern with black conservatives. They are all pigs. Thomas is a sexual abuser. Cain is a sexual abuser. Armstrong Williams was a plagarist. If you are black and conservative, it's ipso facto a character defect, indicating that normal blacks could see through your shit and REJECTED you. If you are black and conservative, you are a pervert.

  • Bokonon on November 07, 2011 3:57 PM:

    Why is it that Cain's sexual tactics seem so familiar, and so much like the coercive tactics behind the GOP's political platform?

    "You want a job, don't you?"

    "You want economic growth, don't you?

    "You don't want to default the national debt, do you?

  • Marko on November 07, 2011 3:58 PM:

    He is soooo toast now

  • Josef K on November 07, 2011 3:58 PM:

    I'm left to wonder what Cain would have to do to be deemed "inappropriate" as a candidate to his current supporters?

    Sexual harassment doesn't seem to faze them. Promising to bankrupt and leave them destitute doesn't faze them.

    Get videotaped shooting someone? They'd probably put it on an endless loop and cheer.

    Encourage a militia uprising? Betcha they'd sign up in droves for it.

    Maybe if he started dating a white woman, that'd go over the line for them. Or not.

    Seriously, this guy is so far off the map I'm ready to despair at his durability. Its just sickening.

  • berttheclock on November 07, 2011 4:06 PM:

    JosefK, you might want to check a recent photo of Mrs Clarence Thomas.

  • AK Liberal on November 07, 2011 4:12 PM:

    ...(b) it seems unlikely all four are part of a coordinated, 15-year campaign organized by the media, liberals, racists, the D.C. establishment, and Rick Perry.

    Kevin Drum has written on more than one occasion about the GOP's informal nominating process, whereby party big wigs make their choice known. As a result, the convention becomes a foregone conlusion and a coronation ceremony. I'd say the the party establishment has spoken and they do not choose Herman Cain. Thanks for the ride Tea Partiers!

  • IDTT on November 07, 2011 4:31 PM:

    (b) it seems unlikely all four are part of a coordinated, 15-year campaign organized by the media, liberals, racists, the D.C. establishment, and Rick Perry.

    Yes, about as unlikely as a 50 year plot to get a Kenyan-born, bi-racial Muslim elected president of the United States.

  • g on November 07, 2011 4:42 PM:

    What's interesting is her timing.

    She has described her encounter in (disgusting) detail. Now if the sealed complaints are revealed, and they mirror the behavior, it will be obvious that they're true.

    If she'd waited until the details of the other complaints were already out there and said "That happened to me too!" it wouldn't be as compelling.

    Let's see what the other complaints involved.

  • Captain Obvious on November 07, 2011 4:45 PM:

    It's all a liberal conspiracy to keep a black man out of the White House by playing on innate fears of Mandingo Man.

    Oh, wait.... it must be a liberal conspiracy to keep one of those 'BETTER' black men out of the White House.

    Wotta friggin' joke.

  • zandru on November 07, 2011 5:09 PM:

    "if it was their daughter, their sister, their wife"

    That's simple - self-styled "conservatives" would merely state that it could NEVER happen to one of theirs. Case closed.

    For some on the right, their lack of empathy is exceeded only by their lack of imagination.

  • T-Rex on November 07, 2011 5:16 PM:

    POed Lib, I hope you're a conservative troll trying to make liberals look bad. Don't kid yourself for one minute -- sexual harassment is no more or less common among any racial, political or ideological group, or any Venn-diagram intersection of those divisions, than in any other. It's an aspect of human nature that some men control and others don't.

    Re the latest accuser, Rush Limbaugh has already implied on the air that she's a whore, and made an obscene pun to that effect on her name. Stay classy, Rush.

  • exlibra on November 07, 2011 6:12 PM:

  • Joe Friday on November 07, 2011 6:43 PM:

    "As Bialek describes the events, Cain said, 'You wanted a job, right?' when he made these sexual advances."

    DEAD MAN WALKING.

  • Bonnie on November 08, 2011 2:28 AM:

    If Herman Cain sexually harrassed one woman, he has probably sexually harrassed 100 women.

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