Herman Cain Goes For the “Nuts Or Sluts” Defense

Herman Cain response to the latest round of allegations against him leaves much to be desired.

Embattled Presidential candidate Herman Cain walked into a press malestrom late this afternoon hoping, no doubt, to put an end to the sexual harassment allegations against him:

In a 30-minute press conference on Tuesday, Herman Cain repeatedly blasted the media for covering the mounting allegations against him and cast himself as the victim of a smear campaign by people hostile to him.

The Republican presidential candidate, who said he would not drop out of the race, denied that he sexually harassed two women — Sharon Bialek and Karen Kraushaar — in the mid-1990s when Cain was head of the National Restaurant Association.

Refusing to even utter the name of Bialek, who said Cain groped her in July 1997, the former Godfather’s Pizza executive dismissed Bialek’s accusations as “baseless, bogus and false.”

“I don’t even know who this lady is,” he said at a press conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., describing the former NRA employee who sought help getting a job from him as a “troubled woman.”

“I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period,” Cain said, adding, “the charges and accusations I absolutely reject. They simply didn’t happen.”

Cain’s denials came as Karen Kraushaar, who accused Cain of sexual harassment when they both worked at the NRA in the ’90s, confirmed publicly for the first time late Tuesday that she had made allegations against Cain.

Kraushaar, 55, who is employed at the Treasury Department’s inspector general office, said she never wanted to go public as one of Cain’s accusers. But as news outlets began publishing her name Tuesday, she said she is ready to talk publicly.

“I am interested in a joint press conference for all the women where we would all be together with our attorneys and all of these allegations could be reviewed as a collective body of evidence,” Kraushaar told The Washington Post.

She added, “When you’re in a work situation where you are being sexually harassed, you are in an extremely vulnerable position,” Kraushaar said. “You do whatever you can to quickly get yourself a job someplace where you will be safe. That is what I thought I had achieved when I left” the NRA in the 90s.

Asked about Kraushaar, Cain said her allegations were “found to be baseless.” The NRA did, however, reached a settlement with Kraushaar that it confirmed last week.

Appearing for the first time with his lawyer at the press conference, Atlanta-based L. Lin Wood — who has represented falsely-accused suspects like Richard Jewell and Rep. Gary Condit (D-Calif.) — Cain said anyone who hoped he would leave the presidential race would be disappointed.

“Ain’t going to happen,” he said. “I’m doing this for the American people.”

In an earlier interview with ABC News and YahooTuesday afternoon, the former Godfather’s Pizza executive repeatedly said he did not remember even meeting Bialek, who on Monday in a nationally televised press conference said that Cain groped her and made an unwanted advance in 1997.

Cain not only denied Bialek’s charges but also rejected the accusations of three other women that emerged over the past 10 days.

“Throughout my career, I have had nothing but utmost respect for any and all women,” Cain said. He added, referring to Bialek, that “some of the claims that were made are absolutely ridiculous.”

Cain and his supporters have sharply questioned both Bialek’s version of events and her motives since Bialek’s press conference Monday.

A Cain spokesman on Monday cast Bialek as a “woman with a long history of severe financial difficulties, including personal bankruptcy,” and asked: “Was she paid to come forward with these false accusations or was she promised employment?”

Cain’s camp also attacked Bialek’s attorney, Gloria Allred.

“It is noteworthy that Gloria Allred is a celebrity lawyer who specializes in generating publicity for herself and her clients,” Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said in a statement on Monday night. “Ms. Allred is a high-profile Democrat Party donor and activist who has given over $10,000 dollars to liberal Democrats like Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.”

During the press conference, which was cut short by Cain himself after just 30 minutes, the candidate also referred to Sharon Bialek as “troubled woman” and repeated comments he had made during an interview earlier this afternoon when he said that the charges made by Bialek and all the other women were part of of a conspiracy, apparently inspired by Democrats but he never really makes that clear, to prevent a “businessman” from becoming President of the United States. He provides no support for this conspiracy, of course, but it’s the kind of argument that, at least for the moment, is likely to placate his supporters.

The one smart thing that Cain appears to have done is to hire Atlanta attorney Lin Wood to represent him in this whole matter. Wood, you may recall, represented Richard Jewell in the libel suits he filed against The Atlanta-Journal Constitution and other media entities int he wake of the 1996 Centennial Park bombing, in which Jewell was wrongly identified as a suspect by the media. Wood also represented Jon and Patsy Ramsey in the wake of the murder of their daughter Jon-Benet and the numerous investigations and accusations that, again wrongfully, that they were involved in her murder. He also represented former Congressman Gary Condit during the investigation of Chandra Levy, for which Condit was suspected and dragged through the mud by the media. So, in some sense, whether there’s something to these charges or not hiring Wood is a smart move on Cain’s part.

But hiring Wood may be the only smart thing that Cain did today. The press conference, for the most part, struck me as a train wreck. The “I don’t remember” defense isn’t an explicit denial even though that’s how Cain wants us to take it, and characterizing a single mother of a 13 year old boy as “troubled” and part of a Democratic conspiracy is the kind of paranoia one usually expects from a rabid Palinista. Denying every single accusation and statement that Bialek made opens the door to every investigative reporter in Washington wearing out the shoe leather to try to determine if she is indeed correct that he upgraded her room at the Capitol Hilton and took her to dinner in July 1997. If it turns out that those details of her story are true, then his statement that he has no idea who she is becomes far, far less credible. More importantly, Cain opened the door to every other woman who has made accusations against him to come forward and counter his statement that she is a liar. In other words, all this press conference did is guarantee that this is story will last until at least the end of this week, if not longer.

We still don’t know what the truth is here, and we may never know that. To some extent, it’s going to depend on who the voters believe is more credible and how they evaluate that. With his press conference today, Herman Cain guaranteed that if there are even a small number of facts that contradict his complete and absolute denial, then he’s the one who is going to look like he isn’t telling the truth. Tonight, Herman Cain signed on fully to the “nuts or sluts” defense. He’d better hope he turns out to be right.

Here’s video of the full Press Conference:

Part I:

Part II:

Video via Hot Air, Photo via The New York Times

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    But hiring Wood may be the only smart thing that Cain did today.

    But if Wood can’t get Cain to exercise his 5th amendment rights, what good does it do? I mean,

    “I don’t even know who this lady is,” he said at a press conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., describing the former NRA employee who sought help getting a job from him as a “troubled woman.”

    if he doesn’t know who she is, how does he know she is a “troubled woman?” Long story short: If one can not remember the women one has assaulted in the past, one should not run for public office.

    Just a hint Herman: Listen to your lawyer and STFU.

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Unfortunately “nuts or sluts” happened to be my dating strategy back in the 80’s and 90’s.

    As far as Cain goes, this farce of a press conference could be used as a training session for how not to respond to these sorts of allegations. It’s unbelievably bad. He made every possible mistake. Lin Wood probably lost 10 years off his life.

    On a larger topic, the fact that Cain is considered a serious candidate for the presidency by a material segment of the right-wing body politic bodes quite ill for America’s future. You can’t fix terminal stupidity and terminal stupidity ultimately is antithetical to lasting prosperity.

  3. Ben Wolf says:

    Any chance we can stop talking about Herman Cain?

  4. qtip says:

    I caught the last 5 minutes and didn’t think his performance was bad. He seemed composed and came across as reasonable to me. (Note that I’m only commenting on his manner and not whether I believe the allegations).

  5. Or maybe you should rename “Outside the Beltway” to “Those Darned Republican Candidates.”

    Do you ever post anything thoughtful or insightful here anymore or is it just all “Republican Bad” all the time?

  6. MBunge says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “As far as Cain goes, this farce of a press conference could be used as a training session for how not to respond to these sorts of allegations.”

    What’s the right way to respond?

    Mike

  7. ponce says:

    In related news: The Supreme Court ruled women have no expectation of privacy…under their skirts.

  8. anjin-san says:

    @ Charles

    Why don’t you quit whining and work turn the GOP into something other that a visit to clown alley?

  9. Isn’t it a bit, uh, coincidental that everyone on the website is attacking Cain?

    When’s the endorsement for Perry or Romney forthcoming?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIK2mxZuK50

  10. The problem is the lack of choice. I don’t want Perry or Romney, period. Bachmann is done, Paul has some issues on the foreign policy front, and other candidates don’t seem up to it. At least Cain fires back at the hack media. Americans are sick of them, and Cain taps that unfulfilled venting of rage at the left and its media complex.

  11. sam says:

    @RogueOperator:

    At least Cain fires back at the hack media. Americans are sick of them, and Cain taps that unfulfilled venting of rage at the left and its media complex.

    Dude, this Cain campaign is one fυcked-up operation, run by an incompetent doofus:

    Cain aide wrongly insists they’ve ‘confirmed’ accuser’s son works for POLITICO

    Herman Cain campaign manager Mark Block, in an appearance with Sean Hannity on Fox News just now, insisted that a relative of the second woman to publicly accuse the candidate of sexual harassment in the 1990s works at POLITICO.

    “Her son works at POLITICO,” Block said of Karen Kraushaar, whose name POLITICO printed earlier today after other media outlets made her identity public.

    “I’ve been hearing that all day – you’ve confirmed that now?” Hannity asked.

    “We’ve confirmed that he does indeed work at POLITICO and that’s his mother, yes,” said Block.

    Block appeared to be referring to former POLITICO reporter Josh Kraushaar, who left for another outlet, National Journal, in 2010.

    Josh Kraushaar tweeted earlier in the day, apparently after getting questions, that he’s in fact not related to Karen Kraushaar, and simply has the same last name.

    Maybe you guys could start clamoring to see Josh Kraushaar’s birth certificate. You could get Orly Taitz to head up the thing. She’s experienced.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Unfortunately “nuts or sluts” happened to be my dating strategy back in the 80′s and 90′s.

    HA! Did you make the same mistake I did and marry one of them?

  13. PD Shaw says:

    Cain certainly needs some help here, but “I don’t recall” sounds more like a legal strategy than a political one. Drip . . . drip . . . drip . . ..

  14. matt b says:

    @RogueOperator:

    When’s the endorsement for Perry or Romney forthcoming?

    James Joyner has never hidden that of all of the current probable candidates Romney is his choice. I’m pretty sure Doug has said similar things. Not sure where the rest stand.

    I don’t want Perry or Romney, period.

    I look forward to hear if you will stick to these guns come next November.

    At least Cain fires back at the hack media. Americans are sick of them, and Cain taps that unfulfilled venting of rage at the left and its media complex.

    Right… like the Conservative Pundit who said he witnessed Cain’s behavior. Or the Washington Examiner. Or Politico — which isn’t a particularly “left wing” site.

    BTW, can you actually build a case about how this is a vast left-wing conspiracy (especially when that would have made far more sense to have this happen about 3 months from now to have the strongest chance of helping Obama’s re-election… remember “Operation Chaos”)?

    And perhaps you could explain Cain’s decision to first blame Perry’s campaign (who stands to benefit the most from a Cain fall) and THEN shift to the liberal media…?

  15. mantis says:

    unfulfilled venting of rage at the left and its media complex.

    The right has been raging nonstop at the left and the media for decades, dude. What planet have you been on?

  16. Steve Verdon says:

    “Ain’t going to happen,” he said. “I’m doing this for the American people.”

    What a steaming pile of bullshit.

    @Ben Wolf:

    Any chance we can stop talking about Herman Cain?

    Unfortunately, probably not. Worse case scenario he goes the route of Palin and becomes an attention seeking media whore trying to cash in on his limited fame…i.e. we will never hear the end of him.

  17. JHC says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    ROFL! Man, that’s funny as heck! (dating strategy comment)

    Yeah, I thought it was a train wreck of a presser. Stephen Hayes pretty much said so too this morning on Bill Bennett’s radio show whereas Bennett thought Cain did well. Huh? 😉
    But Cain did say he’d take a polygraph if there should be a reason for him to. Leaves me wondering where the situation needs to descend too from here until he sees it fitting.

  18. @anjin-san: I don’t belong to the GOP. They aren’t appreciably better than the Democrats. I might as well ask you the same question, or dare I say it, Doug Mataconis.