Monday, November 07, 2011

Herman Cain is toast

Prior to today, the women who were accusing Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment were nameless and faceless.

That's no longer the case.

The Washington Post reports Sharon Bialek stepped forward today to state that Mr. Cain attempted to take advantage of her when she sought advice from him on a job search.
After being let go by the NRA foundation, Bialek, who had met Cain on several occasions during conferences and at a dinner, reached out to Cain to obtain guidance on getting a new job.
During their meeting, Bialek alleges that Cain put his hand under her skirt and reached for her genitals and also pushed her head toward his crotch while they were in a car.
She recalls saying: “This isn’t what I came here for, Mr. Cain.”
The now-GOP presidential candidate responded, according to Bialek, “You want a job, right?”
Politico notes that the Cain campaign quickly shot down the latest allegations. And one of Cain's GOP challengers, Jon Huntsman, challenged Cain to more fully and honestly discuss the growing number of accusations. 
“It’s up to Herman Cain to get the information out and get it out in total,” Huntsman said. “That’s important because we’ve got some real issues to discuss in this campaign and this is taking all the bandwidth out of the discussion ... Legitimate questions have been raised and that information has to come forward.”

Cain, who has denied the allegations but has continuously altered his recollections of the matter, said Saturday that he is done discussing it.

“We’re getting back on message, end of story,” he said following a fundraiser/debate in Texas with rival Newt Gingrich, warning reporters to not “even go there.”

Huntsman, who is trailing badly in the polls, isn’t the only Republican urging Cain to be more forthcoming. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, also speaking on Sunday’s Meet the Press, said that it is the only way the candidate can truly put the issue behind him.
Here's the problem for Mr. Cain -- at some point (and I think it was reached today), the number of allegations becomes too difficult to simply pass off as "they never happened" or "people are out to get me." Moreover, Ms. Bialek -- not bound by any confidentiality agreement or money given to her from the National Restaurant Association -- can present a name and a face to any and all sexual harassment claims.

The guess here is that Cain's presidential ambitions are over. He could very well choose to remain in the race, but I cannot see his support continuing at the level where it is now. Moreover, next to the squeaky clean image of Mitt Romney, Cain appears even more unlikable (and unelectable).

He's done.

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