Republican presidential candidate Herman vowed to stay in the race for the GOP nomination despite allegations of sexual misconduct — that he has denied — from women who worked for the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
“Ain’t gonna happen,” said Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and president of the National Restaurant Association, at a much-hyped press conference in Phoenix on Tuesday afternoon.
Standing before five American flags, Cain vigorously denied that he had ever sexually harassed anyone. He also said he’s willing to take a lie-detector test.
“Yes, I absolutely would,” Cain said, noting that he’s discussed that possibility with his staff and attorney. “But I’m not going to do that unless I have a good reason to do that,” he said.
Cain, who used notes contrary to custom while making his remarks, also said it’s fair to question whether Sharon Bialek, the woman who stepped forward this week to accuse him of groping her in a car and other unwanted sexual advances in 1997, did so because of money problems.
“From a commonsense standpoint, one would have to ask if in fact that might not have been a motivation for her being subjected to this,” Cain said.
Earlier in the day, his campaign released a statement titled “Who is Sharon Bialek?” about her history of money and employment problems, suggesting she may be motivated to make these claims because she is in need of money.
“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,” campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon said.
It was revealed last week in news reports that two women — who were unnamed in the reports — in the 1990s had quit working for Cain at the National Restaurant Association and had been given cash payouts after claiming he acted inappropriately.
The name of one of those women, Karen Kraushaar, was first reported on Tuesday. During his press conference Tuesday, Cain said that her allegations had been deemed unfounded.
“It was found to be baseless,” Cain said, going on to note the difference between a legal settlement and what he called a monetary “agreement” reached between Kraushaar and the National Restaurant Association when she left.
Cain was introduced by his attorney, Lin Wood, who argued that it was unfair for Cain to be tried in the court of public opinion, especially with his inability to cross-examine anonymous accusers.
Bialek, who once worked at the education foundation arm of the restaurant association, held a news conference on Monday with celebrity attorney Gloria Allred in New York City and said Cain in 1997 took her to dinner and made inappropriate advances, explaining his behavior with the rhetorical question: “You want a job, right?”
Earlier on Tuesday in an interview with ABC News, Cain said he didn’t recognize, much less recall, Bialek.