Herman Cain: «I don’t even remember» Sharon Bialek
Herman Cain said Tuesday that he oesn’t «remember knowing» Sharon Bialek, who yesterday became the first woman to publicly accuse Herman Cain of inappropriate sexual behavior in the past.
In an interview with ABC News/Yahoo on Tuesday, Cain reiterated his claim that he has ever «acted inappropriately with anyone. Period.»
«And as far as these latest charges, I don’t even remember her – I reject all of those charges – how can I defend charges when I don’t even remember this person by name? I don’t remember that she did work at the Educational Foundation, and when I first saw her…I didn’t even recognize her,» Cain said of Bialek.
In a press conference Monday, Bialek accused Cain of putting his hand under her skirt and pushing her head toward his crotch after a dinner meeting in 1997, after she had been let go from the National Restaurant Association. She is the fourth woman to claim that Cain has acted inappropriately with her — but the first to do so publicly.
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«I don’t even know who this lady is,» Cain said Tuesday, adding: «The big point is, I have never acted inappropriately with anyone.»
Cain is scheduled to speak at a press conference in Phoenix on Tuesday , and has promised to address the allegations «head on.» Earlier today, he released a statement attacking Bialek’s credibility, citing previous financial difficulties and a history of filing civil law suits.
According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, Cain and Bialek were seen speaking at a Tea Party event last month. The report claims that the two «hugged each other backstage in a full embrace like old friends» before «She grabbed his arm and whispered in his left ear.»
«She kept talking as he bent to listen, and he kept saying «Uh, huh. Uh, huh,» the report says.
When asked, Cain asserted categorically that Bialek was lying.
«I don’t know any other way to say it,» he said. «I would first have to recognize who she is.»
«When I first saw this lady do the press conference with Gloria Allred, I sat there trying to recall who she was and if I knew her,» Cain continued. «And I am honestly telling you I can’t even recall knowing her back then.»
Cain said he called his wife Gloria immediately after the press conference and that she told him, «I’ve known you for over 40 years. That stuff doesn’t even sound like you.»
He said his wife was «angry» about the accusations.
«She knows that’s not something that I would do,» Cain said.
When asked why multiple women would lie about him having sexually harassed them, Cain pointed to «an element in this country, in our politics, that does not want to see a businessman succeed at getting the nomination from the Republican party and does not want me to succeed at becoming president of the United States of America.»
He also targeted the media’s reporting of the story, and said he would get «indignant» if they continued to «stalk» his family.
«Look, I know that journalists and the media, they have a job to do and they’re professionals about it,» Cain said. «But I will get very indignant if they continued to stalk my family, make unsolicited calls.»
Bialek on Tuesday said on CBS’ «The Early Show» that she came forward «because I wanted to help [Cain]. I wanted to give him a platform to come clean, to tell the truth.»
In the Tuesday email, entitled, «Who is Sharon Bialek?» the Cain campaign points to what they call Bialek’s «long and troubled history» as the reason she would come forward with an allegation against him 14 years after the fact.
«The fact is that Ms. Bialek has had a long and troubled history, from the courts to personal finances – which may help explain why she has come forward 14 years after an alleged incident with Mr. Cain, powered by celebrity attorney and long term Democrat donor Gloria Allred,» the email says.
A new Wall Street Journal/ NBC poll shows that the percentage of people with a negative opinion of Cain has risen to from 18 percent in October to 35 percent. Among Republican primary voters, the percentage of those with a negative view of the candidate rose from 6 percent in October to 19 percent.
Still, the percentage of Republican primary voters with a positive view of Cain stayed the same at 52 percent. On top of that, the poll shows Cain is still statistically tied for first place with Mitt Romney among Republican primary voters. The poll was conducted Nov. 2 – Nov. 5; initial reports of harassment charges against Cain broke on October 30.
Addressing the charges against Cain for the first time Tuesday, Romney, in an interview with ABC News/Yahoo called the allegations «serious» and said «they’re going to have to be addressed seriously.»
Referencing Bialek’s specific allegations, he said: «This woman’s charges are particularly disturbing and they’re serious.»