Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Cain Maintains Innocence in Sexual Harrassment Charges

Herman Cain held a press conference to declare in no uncertain language that he is innocent of the charges of sexual harassment against him. Just before his press conference began, another woman went public. She is referred to as woman #1 from the original settlement story from the National Restaurant Association. She went public as she said the confidentiality clause in the original settlement has been violated. She invited all the other women to come together with her and hold a joint news conference.

We learn today that a joint news conference with at least two of the women accusers will happen in the next few days.

Here's what I took away from the press conference - Herman Cain has to decide if he is running for president or if he is selling his book. He has been very poorly served by his staff and he was several days late in going before the press on this matter. He continues to declare his innocence and doesn't sway on that, which is good. He continues to say he doesn't know some of the women and never "acted inappropriately" with anyone. Ever. That is bad. How can anyone make that statement? Inappropriate is in the eye of the beholder, in many cases.

And, most importantly from a public relations standpoint, Mr. Cain should have had Mrs. Cain standing next to him as he made his remarks before the question and answer portion of the press conference. He was there with a well-known Atlanta lawyer instead.

To date, there are now five women who are claiming sexual harassment from Mr. Cain:

Accuser one: Today identified as Karen Kraushaar, 55, who worked with Cain at the NRA in the nineties. She is said to have received a settlement claim from the company after a series of 'inappropriate behaviours' from Cain.

Accuser two: Still unnamed. She, along with Karen Kraushaar, were the women to start the scandal against the Republican when details of their settlement were reported on Politico.

Accuser three: Still unnamed. Another former NRA employee who considered filing a workplace complaint against Cain over what she deemed sexually suggestive, aggressive and unwanted behaviour.

Accuser four: Sharon Bialek was the first woman to come out publicly. She claims Cain tried to grope her genitals and push her head towards his crotch when she went to him for advice in 1997.

Accuser five: Former employee of the United States Agency for International Development Donna Donella, 40, from Arlington, said the Republican presidential candidate asked her to help arrange a dinner date for him with an Egyptian businesswoman following a speech he delivered in the country nine years ago. She said she didn't feel comfortable about it so refused.

There are arguments to be made about character issues of accusers 1 and 4 that have surfaced in news accounts. The women and their choices in life are not the issue, though. The issue is the continued press barrage on Mr. Cain to prove his innocence. The assumption is that he is guilty. He may be but it is not the job of the press to decide his guilt or innocence.

It can be said that the press didn't seem too interested in the affairs of Bill Clinton or the education and personal life of Barack Obama. It can be said that the press willingly allowed John Edwards to have an affair with someone on the campaign trail and father a child with her as his wife fought terminal cancer without a story being written about it for more than a year. It can be said that if the politician is a Democrat the line of thought is that personal life doesn't matter; it is not our business. We are told it is between the man and his wife. But for a Republican, the gloves come off and any accusation is a-oka . Let the facts emerge in their own sweet time and assume the worst in the meantime.

Mr. Cain has made the mistake of blaming everyone for this trouble. He blamed the press, he blamed Rick Perry's campaign, he blamed Democrats, he blamed everyone but himself for his predicament.

Herman Cain has some fault here, whether he is guilty of this inappropriate behavior or not. He allowed a national online publication to run a story after being given 10 days notice in advance. He chose to allow the story to run and then played defense. He should have come out before it was published and told his story. He has flip flopped around on his story and of his memory of time lines.

I find it implausible that a man who is running as a successful businessman who solves problems cannot get a handle on how to settle this situation. It has gone from bad to worse. He now finds himself painted into a corner where if any receipts or paper trail can put him with these women it will be the final straw for his run for the nomination. He has offered to take a lie detector test. It has gotten out of hand.

Last night Cain's Chief of Staff Mark Block went on a national television show and accused yet another person as the source of all the media reporting and was proven to be absolutely incorrect in his theory.

Desperate to deflect attention from the growing number of women who have accused Herman Cain of sexual misconduct, the Cain campaign has resorted to telling outright lies on national television. Last night, Cain chief of staff Mark Block went on Fox's Hannity show and said: "At the press conference it was brought up that Karen Kraushaar had come out as one of the women, so we've come to find out that her son works at POLITICO, the organization that originally put this story out."

Sean Hannity then pressed Block: "Have you confirmed that? I've been hearing that all day, rumors about that, you have confirmed that now right?"

Block responded: "We confirmed it with ahhh... that he does indeed work at Politico and that's his mother, yes."

The person referenced by Block not only doesn't work for Politico anymore but is now executive editor at The Hotline and not related to the accuser. If Block is not fired over this stunt, Herman Cain doesn't deserve the trust of voters.

The question remains - does Herman Cain truly want to be President of the United States?

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