The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler


Posted on | November 7, 2011 | 140 Comments

UPDATE 3:18 p.m. ET: Video via Nice Deb:

A quick sample of headlines:

Woman: Herman Cain put hand up my skirt
USA Today

Herman Cain and Sharon Bialek: How it came about
Washington Post

Cain accuser says candidate groped her in 1997

UPDATE 3:35 p.m. ET: The Anchoress speaks:

The MSM will do its “penance” for ignoring Juanita Brodderick by conferring absolute moral authority upon Sharon Bialek, who (again, if its all true, and we really will never know) has had the good luck of experiencing such a sickening encounter at the hands of a Republican candidate for president, and not a Democrat. She will be believed, at least, and she will not be trashed. And for her sake and her son’s I’m glad of that.

Will conservatives passively accept the power of the media (and Gloria Allred) to choose the GOP’s presidential candidate? Will there be no pushback from conservatives against this?

This presumption would seem to ignore the possibility that Cain’s supporters might react by saying, “To hell with this! We don’t give a damn what happened in 1997! We’re tired of these kinds of sleazy games and we’re sticking with Herman Cain!”

UPDATE 3:53 p.m. ET: Press release from Cain campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon:

Just as the country finally begins to refocus on our crippling $15 trillion national debt and the unacceptably high unemployment rate, now activist celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred is bringing forth more false accusations against the character of Republican front-runner Herman Cain.
All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false. Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone. Fortunately the American people will not allow Mr. Cain’s bold “9-9-9 Plan”, clear foreign policy vision and plans for energy independence to be overshadowed by these bogus attacks.

UPDATE 4:10 p.m. ET: Michelle Malkin seems skeptical of the accuser:

She didn’t report the incident because she was “embarrassed.”
Bialek saw Cain at a Tea Party event last month and asked “Do you remember me?”
“I really didn’t want to be here today.”
At end of her statement, she giggled. She talked about her new hairdo.
Allred confirms that Bialek did not notify NRA about the incident. Bialek smiled. Won’t comment when asked about the “emotional trauma” of the incident.
So Bialek is single with a teenage child, with no discernible means of income, and employing a top Democrat hit woman celebrity attorney and her employment law partner.

Over the weekend at the AFP conference, several people told me that they had reason to believe this story was coming from Chicago. IYKWIMAITYD. And while this kind of suspicion has nothing to do with the truth or falsehood of the accusation, it is certainly interesting. While I have always suspected Team Perry of pushing the story, the idea that Team Obama might be responsible cannot be ruled out.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. ET: Cornell University Law Professor William Jacobson:

Summary of press conference: Woman alleges that in 1997 after her employment terminated with a National Restaurant Association affiliate, Cain made a single sexual advance at her which she rebuffed and which he stopped after she said no. So the allegation is not one of workplace “sexual harassment” but of an alleged attempt at infidelity.
A variety of people on Twitter are characterizing this as a “serious sexual assualt,” but that is farfetched. Assuming what she says is true, he stopped when she said to stop and she did not allege any actual sexual touching, only an attempt. She says she mentioned to two people at the time that Cain was sexually inappropriate, but did not mention to details to them.

Allahpundit points out that the lawyer for another accuser has claimed Bialek’s account as corroboration:

In an interview after Ms. Bialek’s news conference, Joel P. Bennett, a lawyer for one of Mr. Cain’s anonymous accusers, said that Ms. Bialek’s claims were “very similar” in nature to the incident that occurred between his client and Mr. Cain…
“It corroborates the claim,” Mr. Bennett said of Ms. Bialek’s allegation. Asked whether that meant that Mr. Cain had physically touched his client inappropriately, Mr. Bennett said “I can’t get more specific” but added that “I can say it is corroborating.”


UPDATE 2:38 p.m. ET: The press conference is over and so we now must think about what we’ve just heard.

Did Sharon Bialek’s account of events seem plausible? Yes.

If you had 14 years to develop a narrative of an event that happened in 1997, would your account of that event be plausible? Also, yes.

We have here the basic “he-said, she-said” problem involved in such cases. What Bialek says happened would be very bad if it actually happened as she describes it. But there were no witnesses, there is no evidence, and the affidavits of two people to whom Bialek told her story in 1997 are inadmissable as hearsay. You could not convict Herman Cain in court based on such evidence, and yet the behavior described, if it is not criminal, certainly does fit within the category of “sexual harassment.” However . . .

There is no need to minimize the seriousness of sexual harassment in order to understand the difficulties that arise from trying to reach the hurdle of “beyond a reasonable doubt” involving private behavior where witnesses and evidence are lacking, and where the rights of the accused are derided as irrelevant. Liberals who hold candlelight vigils for condemned cop-killers will, without any sense of irony, insist that whenever a man is accused of sexual misconduct by a woman, the man must automatically be presumed guilty.

Well, it is not for me to decide how people react to this accusation, and so I will cease to offer my own reaction, except to say: Why wait 14 years? Oh. That’s right: The accused is leading the GOP field for president.

So if you make a pass at a woman, and are rejected, you can kiss good-bye whatever plans you had for becoming president — as a Republican.

I’ll be back to aggregate the headlines and blog reaction.

UPDATE 2:08 p.m. ET: Cain allegedly fondled her leg and tried to kiss her while they were alone in a car, Bialek says. When she said stop, he did. And so your headline is:


UPDATE 2:01 p.m. ET: Bialek “reached out” to Cain after being terminated from her job. He met her at the Capitol Hilton in July 1997, where he had arranged for her to have the presidential suite. Bialek and Cain met at the lobby bar, then went to dinner at an Italian restaurant.

UPDATE 1:57 p.m. ET: The accuser is Sharon Bialek.

UPDATE 1:40 p.m. ET: Either the press conference is late in beginning or else the cable news networks aren’t carrying it live. Will update as soon as facts are available.

* * * PREVIOUSLY 1:15 p.m. ET * * *

Gloria Allred will hold a 1:30 p.m. press conference at the Friars Club in New York. I’ll blog updates live. Greta Van Susteren has the press release:

Herman Cain and Sexual Harassment
New Woman Who Alleges Sexual Harassment By Cain
To Hold News Conference With Her Attorney Gloria Allred.

A woman who alleges that she was sexually harassed by Presidential hopeful, Herman Cain, when she sought his help with an employment issue when he was President of the National Restaurant Association will hold a news conference with her Attorney, Gloria Allred on Monday, November 7th, at 1:30 p.m. (e.s.t.) at the Friars Club, 57 East 55th Street New York, NY 10022.
The woman is not one of the three women who have previously been reported to have alleged sexual harassment by Cain.
Ms. Allred’s client will be the first to give her name and to speak out about details of what she alleges occurred between her and Cain.
Note: Credentialed Press Only – Cameras may begin to set up at 12:30 p.m. at the Friars Club.
Note: There will be no interviews or questions answered before the news conference.

My personal feeling is that this is the best thing that can happen to Herman Cain in this situation. He cannot refute vague accusations, and the credibility of his accusers cannot be assessed so long as the accusers remain anonymous. So for a woman to come forward, under her own name, and make her accusations under the glare of the Klieg lights — this is good news if Cain is innocent, as he has insisted. More headlines:

New Cain accuser to discuss sexual harassment claims
The Hill

Herman Cain sexual harassment accuser will
break silence at Gloria Allred press conference

NY Daily News

Lawyer: 4th Cain accuser will speak publicly Monday
Washington Post

Because I was out running “honey-do” errands this morning, I missed the initial announcement. Smitty posted the first alert and then called to tell me about it. Smitty’s “zombie/brains” metaphor is clever.

Perhaps at some future flesh-time meeting, Smitty and I can have a discussion about the factors involved in deciding whether a breaking news development should be headlined with clever metaphors, puns, allusions, etc. At any rate — spilled milk, water under the bridge, hindsight 20/20 — our cleverness quota having already been amply fulfilled on this story, I decided to go with the Joe Friday just-the-facts-ma’am headline on this follow-up, which will be the live-blog report.


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  • Adjoran

    Well, a Senate primary in Georgia isn’t exactly going to capture the notice of people in the DC orbit, or in Chicago.  This is much higher profile.

    Cain at one point claimed to have briefed Curt Anderson in 2004 on the potential for the accusations to come out, although I believe he backed off the assertion after Anderson denied it.  So you may have a point – he may have just thought it had been so long it wouldn’t come up any more.

  • richard mcenroe

    In defense of the memory of Laura Branigan, unhand that lyric, you cad!

  • richard mcenroe

    C’Mon, Ladd, the Texas Ten-Percenter is bound to make a comeback if we just dump the pizza guy!

  • richard mcenroe

    Is he shaking the tip jar AGAIN?  How fast CAN a man drink ten bucks’ worth of beer, anyway?  He ain’t yoomin!

  • richard mcenroe

    Ah, there’s a statement!  Why, that’s practically a finding of fact!

  • Anonymous

    Not just counting on time and distance but underestimating difference in degree of scrutiny.

  • Adjoran

    Gloria Allred walks into a bar leading a duck on a leash.

    The bartender says, “Hey!  Why are you bringing that pig in here?”

    Allred says, “It’s a duck, you idiot!”

    The bartender says, “I was talking to the duck!”

  • Mike Rogers

    Nice!  But who?
    Bialek, All-Red, or the poor candidate?

  • TheHorryCountyObservermk4

    Did women suffer anything such as you describe at Tea Party rallies?

  • Anonymous

    You’re on a roll, keep’em coming!

  • Anonymous

    You might be surprised — they’re starting to get tired of being scooped by the blogosphere.

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  • FenelonSpoke

    Sounds suspiciously like some money has passed hands:

    Who is Sharon Bielat?

  • ThePaganTemple

    The dinosaurs that run the big three networks. Please, they’re too clueless AND arrogant to care. Its not just any one individual journalist or editor, its the entire culture.

  • ThePaganTemple

    Maybe, if its the truth. That’s what’s debatable. Teddy boy Kennedy was an asshole at work for a long, “distinguished” career too, but that didn’t stop from being re-elected to term after term, and when he finally and thankfully died, he was still hailed as the “liberal lion of the Senate”. His brother John was arguably worse than he was, if that were possible, and I’m still not entirely sure he and his little punk brother Bobby (Mr let’s help our friends in the Irish mob by destroying the Italian Mafia and pretending we’re crime fighters) weren’t responsible for the death of Marilyn Monroe. In fact, I’m pretty fucking sure they were. And then there’s blow job Billy Clinton, who by the way might have been a rapist. And then there’s the grapefruit sized asshole of Barney Frank, who probably rose through the ranks of power by blackmailing closeted gay Congressmen.

    Can’t prove all of that, but the bad thing is, what things that are beyond dispute is worse than anything Cain has been accused of, which so far are nothing but allegations.

    When those allegations are presented with some proof to back them up, then I might care a little bit.

  • Edward

    *shrug* Frankly I’m supposed to be impressed by this nonsense?

    Were I Cain I’d sue the living shit out of her and force her to do all of this under oath.

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  • mark

    looking for a transcript of gloria’s statements…
    all i get are  what the msm wants to be the ‘money quotes’ from bialek.

    i seem to remember gloria implying that the two signed statements obtained were from people who were told immediately after the alleged incident. 

    as it turns out, the finance was told about this on friday, as in less than 100 hours ago.  still, he has a statemment obtained “under oath” and it didn’t burst into flame when gloria touched it.

    the card yet to be be flopped is the details of what makes someone a ‘mentor’…sounds like a euphemism for pimp.

    this story doesn’t survive 24 hours.  it doesn’t answer the issues from the earlier accusations, but it definitely weakens them. 

    if one had to put a ‘resume’ to an accuser, complete with an attorney that is known and loathed nationally, that would help cain, this was it.  as the only face to the accusations, she now eclipses all other stories.

  • Bruce

    “an attorney that is known and loathed nationally”
    David J Axelrod is not
    David M Axelrod

    Let’s not be too hasty, double check everything to be sure of impact. 

  • Bruce

    Oops, I was thinking of this, which also comes up in Bialek’s resume.
    I was elsewhere…

  • Anonymous

    Do they know they’re being scooped by the blogosphere?

  • Patrick
  • Patrick

    good thing I stay up late…. so, FIRST! 🙂

  • Ed

    Before taking sides it should be fair to hear Cain’s side first when he decides to speak that is. Every party deserves to be heard before you start concluding who’s the victim and who’s to be accused. You see Cain has a clear plan of how to help America with his 999 tax plan and people throwing this smear campaign out might have gotten scared. I’ve read details of Cain’s tax plan from here

  • Adjoran

    I see nothing of the sort, not even the insinuation.  In fact Piers Morgan directly challenged her on that, would she make money from it?  It does seem she’s had a long history of financial troubles, with two bankruptcies, but that isn’t dispositive.

    The suspicion should be aroused with the number of accusers. 

  • Adjoran

    Cain is smarter than that.  The woman likely has no money, she’s declared bankruptcy twice. 

    But even if she was rich, suing her is the stupidest possible thing he could do.  Not only is the standard very high to slander of a public figure, but the discovery phase would require Cain to be deposed, and the questioning would be thorough.  Then the other accusers would be sought out and deposed.  It would be a slow torture, a suicidal litigation.

  • mark

    “an attorney that is known and loathed nationally”i was referring to allred.

    in her case, i don’t feel a need to double check that she is pond scum.

  • mark

     “…it should be fair to hear Cain’s side first when he decides to speak that is. ”

    ask, and ye shall receive.  herman to speak on this, tomorrow.

    the non-disclosure of the previous cases was tricky.

    gloria just served up a desperately needed ‘tomato can’.  he goes to town on her.  the other cases had the taint of a modest payout, and why relitigate?

    i’m going out on a limb, but the tone we get today from herman, is ‘righteous’.  can’t say anything about the other cases, but in this one, he is clean.  he beats this one, like i expect, and he ‘rights’ his campaign.

    allred may have helped make sure he is the nominee.  any establishment shill that wants to make a case off of this one in regards to the previous cases- you have a witness list of ‘one’.

  • mark

    this has to be a parody…

    a usaid worker suspected that herman cain was about to rape an egyptian woman, but managed to protect her, and subsequently whip out 800 bucks for wine, which she drank with the lothario?

    usaid must pay real well.

  • Bob Belvedere

    In the past you could always count on their competitive instincts to kick in and override their ideology, but I’m not so sure these days.  Things have hardened.

  • Bob Belvedere

    No pun intended.

  • Bob Belvedere

    To be fair to Dan, he was a Palin guy.

  • Bob Belvedere

    And she immediately went off her meds – go figure!

  • Bob Belvedere

    Damn straight, Joe!  How do you think I rose to the level of Rule 5 Mojo Master?

  • Anonymous

    As early as yesterday afternoon, ABC already had material up on Bialek’s checkered employment history, multiple bankruptcies, and paternity suit (apparently from a CEO she accused of fathering her child). 

    She appears to be quite the train wreck. So much so that if Cain hadn’t already changed his story several times before she showed up and generally done his level best to make himself look guilty as hell, she’d probably have been dismissed out of hand.

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