Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who has in the past week faced serious allegations of sexual harassment, has vowed to “set the record straight” in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. He made the decision to do so after a fourth accuser, Sharon Bialek, not only came forward but also very graphically described an incident in which Cain groped her when she sought his help in finding a new job in 1997.
Cain will hold a press conference in Phoenix, Arizona, Tuesday evening to answer questions about the allegations, just days after telling reporters that he was done discussing the matter. Based on his campaign’s initial response to claims made by Bialek, who is represented by the high profile attorney and women’s rights activist Gloria Allred, the plan of attack may be to attack the alleged victims.
Tuesday morning Cain’s campaign sent an email in which it contrasted the candidate’s “four decades climbing the corporate ladder” to Bialek’s “long and troubled history, from the courts to personal finances” and cites several civil and personal bankruptcy cases she is alleged to have been involved in.
Cain also appeared on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live Monday night and joked about the situation with the host, suggesting that other candidates could benefit from their own scandal as he has in terms of fundraising.
But according to former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, the scandal is no laughing matter and Cain should have addressed it the day after the story first broke last week. He also cautioned against basing his explanation on a critique of Bialek’s motives.
“At this point you’ve got a face out there now, a woman who’s on the TV programs talking about what happened in that car in very graphic terms. To go down that road is a big deal. You don’t just make that up. And I think they’ve got to be very careful about inferring that she’s doing this for the money,” Steele warned. “She’s speaking about dates and places, naming actual locations, restaurants and hotels. At this point I don’t know exactly what this ultimately looks like for the campaign, so we’ll see how he addresses it today, hopefully in terms that will put this behind him. But it’s a week too late for that in some respects.”
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)