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Herman Cain Accuser Sharon Bialek Goes Public, GOP Candidate to Hold Press Conference

Posted on the 08 November 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Herman Cain accuser Sharon Bialek goes public, GOP candidate to hold press conference

Herman Cain. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore,

Against the odds, it was beginning to look like Herman Cain might just shake off the recent sexual harassment claims and get his presidential nomination bid back on track. A recent Gallup poll had Cain tied with Mitt Romney ahead of the other Republican hopefuls, despite the potentially damaging reports. But now another two women have made allegations of inappropriate behavior against the Republican candidate.

Dinner date. The latest woman to come forward is Donna Donella, an ex-employee of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Donella told The Washington Examiner that Cain tried to persuade her to set up a date with a female audience member after he gave a speech at a USAID event in 2002. When Donella refused, Cain allegedly asked her to dinner instead. She ended up eating with Cain and several female colleagues: “Cain exhibited no inappropriate sexual behavior during the dinner, though he did order two $400 bottles of wine and stuck the women with the bill, she said.”

Press conference. More damagingly, Sharon Bialek claimed at a press conference in New York that Cain made sexual advances to her when she approached him for help finding a job in 1997. Bialek alleged that Cain grabbed at her genitals and head after he drove her to the National Restaurant Association, of which he was CEO. Her lawyer, Gloria Allred, said that Bialek had no financial motives in coming forward.

Cain to speak. Maggie Haberman reported for Politico that Cain sent out an email to supporters criticising the media following Bialek’s press conference:  ” Once this kind of nonsense starts, the media’s rules say you have to act in a certain way. I am well aware of these rules. And I refuse to play by them,” he wrote. Indeed, Cain initially refused to answer media questions on the sexual harassment allegations. However, Nia Malika-Henderson wrote on The Washington Post Election 2012 blog that the Republican candidate has now changed his strategy, discussing the allegations on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show and announcing a press conference for Tuesday afternoon in order to “set the record straight”.

Plausible? Writing for The Daily Beast, Michelle Goldberg said that Bialek’s claims echo the experience of many women with predatory older men: “While I don’t know whether Bialek’s story is true, I do know that it rings true. It makes sense that she didn’t report Cain or come forward until now,” she said.

Cain can survive. Although the allegations keep coming, Tim Stanley argued on a Telegraph blog that Cain is still in with a shot at the Republican nomination. Stanley wrote that this is partly because Cain’s accusers are “partisan hacks”, which makes their allegations less plausible to the American public: “Gloria Allred is a high profile, muckraking lawyer and gives lots of money to the Democrats,” he wrote. What’s more, Stanley said, Republicans tend to be cynical about sexual harassment suits. “That explains in part why (as of the weekend) 55 percent of Republicans refuse to believe the claims made against Cain. Seven in ten say that the accusations will make no difference to them when considering who to vote for,” Stanley wrote.

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