Yesterday, Sharon Bialek and Gloria Allred reignited the Herman Cain sexual harassment scandal all over again, and the press conference immediately damaged Cain’s reputation among Republican voters. In an effort to confront the accusations head on, Cain held a press conference of his own in Phoenix this evening. Before taking questions, Cain delivered opening remarks in which he categorically denied the charges against him. In fact, he went much further than that, claiming, “I have never acted inappropriately with anyone. Period.” Anyone! Ever! Cain has been a perfect gentleman to every human being he’s ever come across, since the day he was born.
Cain’s blanket denials are not surprising, but they may have been too blanket-y for his own good. At one point, Cain claimed that he saw Sharon Bialek “for the very first time” during her televised press conference yesterday. He said he didn’t recognize her face or remember her name. Later, responding to a reporter’s question, Cain added, “I’m pretty good at remembering people that I have met.” And yet, in the Chicago Sun-Times today, radio host Amy Jacobson reports personally witnessing Cain and Bialek meeting and talking at a tea party convention last month. Speaking to Glenn Beck this afternoon, Jacobson described the encounter in vivid detail. Some memory you’ve got there, Herman.
If there are any other key points to take away from the presser, it’s that Cain would willingly take a lie-detector test to clear his name and break this he-said-she-said stalemate. With one major caveat. “I absolutely would,” he told a reporter from CBS News. “But I’m not going to do that unless I have a good reason to do that. Of course I would be willing to do a lie detector test.” We would have thought that a “good reason” had already presented itself: Cain is being accused of things he says never happened. If he passed a lie detector test — as unreliable as those can be — it would go a long way toward clearing his name in the court of public opinion. If that’s not a good enough reason, we don’t know what would qualify.