Mrs. Cain stands by her man — gives her side of the sexual harassment scandal story
In her first ever televised interview Gloria Cain, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, addressed allegations that her husband sexually harassed several women during his tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
Noting that she was nervous, Cain jumped right into addressing the most controversial charges against her husband with “On the Record” host Greta van Sustren, saying that the allegations are not consistent with the man she married 43 years ago.
“The first week and a half I think I was in shock, because I didn’t see it coming and there were such ugly things said,” she said. “And I kept thinking, ‘Who are these people talking about? This isn’t Herman.'”
Cain said that after about a week and a half of watching the accusations unfold, she just had to cut herself off from the news. Her spirits, she said, then began to lift.
“I know the person that he is and I know that the person that they were talking about — I don’t know who that person is and we have been married for 43 years and if I haven’t seen parts of that person in 43 years. I don’t think I am that simple that I would miss something that significant.”
Cain said that while everyone may have an opinion, they do not know her husband.
According to Cain, her husband did not brief her on what was going to come out in the initial Politico article, saying that he mentioned there was an article coming about sexual harassment, but did not dwell on it. She said she expected it to just be “hearsay.”
“Then on the news that night I started seeing the actual story and it started to snowball. So at that point I really didn’t know what hit me, but it started that Sunday night when it first hit the media.”
She explained that she finally confronted him about the allegations. He told her the same thing he has been saying publicly.
“I wanted to know, are there any accusations — do you remember any of these people, do you remember anything happening that was considered sexual harassment, or what? He kept saying ‘no,’” she said. “He told me about the first lady who made the accusations through the National Restaurant Association and for some reason that rang a bell.”
Cain explained that she vaguely remembered one of the incidents of sexual harassment from 15 years ago, but that at the time it was not a big deal as the accusations were deemed “unfounded” and they had never spoken about it again.
With regard to the story Sharon Bialek brought forward last week with her attorney Gloria Allred — charging Herman Cain with attempting to reach up her skirt when she approached him for employment help — Cain said that she believes Bialek to be completely untruthful.
“I watched her on the news that day because I wanted to hear her specific allegations and the things that she was saying — I’m sitting there thinking, ‘You weren’t in the car with Herman. I don’t know where you have been, but I know Herman Cain and I know he has always had too much respect for women to treat them in any type of negative way.’”
Cain explained that her husband is a model of chivalry, described his manners toward women as “old school,” and stressed that he would never do anything like what Bialek has alleged.
Van Sustren pressed Cain on whether she believes her husband has always been faithful to her. She was unequivocal, saying that there was no chance that he hadn’t been.
“No, because his conscience would bother him. His conscience would bother him and he couldn’t look me straight in the eye and I can usually tell if there is something wrong,” she said, adding that his conscience would bother him to the point that he would have to admit it to her.
“I know the type of women that you are thinking about the little woman at home is the last to know. But I never see myself as being the little woman at home and I’ve always said when I see stories like that, ‘I will not be one of those people who end up on stage with a smile knowing that you were wrong. I am not going to do that,’” she added.
Cain admitted that there have been troubles in their marriage but explained that they have loved each other for 43 years and that no marriage is without difficulty. She added that the pair have never separated or split.
She noted that the unfolding scandal has made her “extremely” dislike the process of a spouse running for the presidency.
“It made me realize, you can live your whole like trying to be respectful, trying to be faithful, trying to have faith, just trying to treat people right and anyne can come from any place and say whatever they want to say about you,” she said. “The problem with that is there are people who will believe that person over you and to know that you’re being honest and you’re telling the truth and then you have to prove that you are telling the truth. That is probably one of the worst feelings a person can have. To be telling the truth and then having to prove you are telling the truth.”
Cain advised the public “to look within themselves” and come to their own conclusion as to whether to believe the accusers — she noted that with all the allegations there will always be people who will never be 100 percent convinced that Cain is innocent.
To Cain, however, there is not a doubt that her husband has been telling the truth.
Follow Caroline on Twitter