Cain on harassment claims: In long career, "Someone will complain"

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks after meeting with doctors attending the Docs4PatientCare conference in Alexandria, Va., Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011.
AP Photo/Cliff Owen
Herman Cain
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks at a conference Nov. 2, 2011.
AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Hours after the first of four accusers went public Monday with a specific account of sexual harassment alleged 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 a long and successful career.

After outlining the rungs of the business ladder that led to his being named CEO of Godfather's Pizza and eventually his NRA tenure, Cain argued 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 that "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, Sharon Bialek, one of four accusers, came forward in a press conference Monday morning in New York City to outline an incident in 1997 in which Cain allegedly tried to bargain a job for Bialek in exchange for sex. Bialek had previously worked at the National Restaurant Association.

But Cain said he's not going to play by "the media's rules," and admonished political strategists who have suggested he come forth with his own account of the allegations against him. Recently, Cain has dodged media inquiries of the subject; in a post-debate press conference Saturday night, he told reporters he wouldn't answer questions about the matter ever again.

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."

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