Herman Cain scandal: Sharon Bialek's 'explicitly specific' allegations
A Chicago-area single mom unloads graphic, devastating charges on the GOP presidential frontrunner — and some critics say it's time for Cain to drop out
The video: Things are going from bad to worse for Herman Cain. Already dogged by accusations from three anonymous women who say the GOP presidential front-runner sexually harassed them while heading up the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in the 1990s, Cain is now facing allegations — by far the most specific yet — from a fourth woman. Sharon Bialek, a Chicago-area single mom, revealed her story Monday at a press conference, flanked by high-powered attorney Gloria Allred. (See the clip below.) After Bialek was laid off from an NRA-connected foundation in 1997, her boyfriend suggested she ask Cain for help finding a new job. Bialek says she traveled to D.C., only to find her hotel room upgraded, courtesy of Cain, to a "palatial suite." While Bialek and Cain were en route to the NRA office, Bialek says Cain "suddenly reached over and put his hand on my leg, up my skirt, and towards my genitals." When she protested, Cain allegedly countered, "You want a job, right?" Bialek also claims that Cain forced her head "towards his crotch." Team Cain fiercely denies the charges: "All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false." Bialek is not filing a lawsuit against Cain, saying simply, "I want you to come clean, Mr. Cain."
The reaction: Oof, says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. This is a "pretty ugly physical account." And it will be hard for conservatives to spin "Bialek into a liberal tool" — she's "Republican, an accomplished professional, and white." Too bad Bialek's attorney is Gloria Allred, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. I simply couldn't believe how "stupid" it sounded when Allred called "the incident Cain's 'idea of a stimulus package.'" Still, says Ewen Macaskill at Britain's Guardian, these televised allegations are obviously bad for the GOP front-runner. "Many Cain supporters were able to dismiss [past] accusations because they were made anonymously." Plus, says Noah Rothman at Ology, this is a major "escalation from allegations of sexual harassment to those of assault and battery." This "explicitly specific account" means the end for Cain, says Tod Robberson at The Dallas Morning News. "Cain must end his presidential campaign and, for his own good, seek treatment." Really, "this man does not belong anywhere close to the levers of power in any government." Judge for yourself: