Hours after the first of four accusers went public on Monday with a specific allegation of sexual harassment against Herman Cain while he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, the presidential candidate e-mailed supporters a 917-word commentary chalking the controversy up to the hazards of a long and successful career.
The e-mail was sent after Cain issued a statement denying Sharon Bialek’s claim that he groped her in 1997. After outlining the rungs of the business ladder that led to his being named CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and his NRA tenure, Cain argued in the e-mail that he “can’t even begin to recall how many conversations I had with people during that time, how many directives I gave, how much friendly banter might have taken place.”
He went on to observe: “At some point during a career like this, someone will not like things you do, or how you do it. Someone will complain. That is just the nature of things if you’ve ever done much in your life.”
“So once the editors of Politico started looking for people who would make claims against me, their chances of finding a few takers were probably about 100 percent,” Cain continued. “These people will not give their names. The so-called ‘witnesses’ who purportedly corroborated their stories also will not give their names.”
In fact, Bialek, one of four accusers, came forward in a press conference on Monday in New York City to outline a 1997 incident in which Cain allegedly tried to bargain a job for Bialek in exchange for sex. Bialek had previously worked at the restaurant association.
But Cain said he’s not going to play by “the media’s rules,” and he admonished political strategists who have suggested he come forth with his own account of the allegations against him. Recently, Cain has dodged media inquiries into the subject; in a post-debate press conference on Saturday night, he told reporters he wouldn’t answer questions about the matter ever again.
But in a departure from that position, Cain's campaign announced late Monday that the candidate would hold a news conference on Tuesday afternoon in Phoenix to address the charges against him in further detail.
In the e-mail to supporters, Cain lamented, “When you haven’t ‘calmed the firestorm’ – if only because the people wielding the blow-torches have no intention of putting them out – more experts are put on the air to say this proves you are ‘not ready for prime time.’ Maybe that would matter if I was trying out for the cast of Saturday Night Live. But this should be a slightly more serious undertaking than that.”