Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain took to the podium Tuesday afternoon to flatly deny the sexual harassment charges against him, especially those levied from Sharon Bialek the day before.
The late afternoon press conference began with Cain’s Atlanta attorney, Lin Wood, laying the groundwork for the candidate’s comments. “Herman Cain finds himself in the court of public opinion, falsely accused,” said Wood.
After being introduced, Cain began his remarks by saying, “I am Herman Cain and I am running for President of the United States.”
“I have never acted inappropriately with anyone … period,” Cain said three times during the press conference. “The charges and the accusations, I absolutely reject. They simply did not happen.”
Cain’s remarks included prepared notes, noting he usually does not speak from prepared remarks. The GOP candidate was in Scottsdale, Ariz., and appeared to be calm and relaxed during the press conference.
“We are not going to allow Washington or politics to deny me the opportunity to represent this great nation,” Cain said. “As far as these accusations … to cause me to back off or maybe withdraw from this presidential primary race, it ain’t going to happen. I’m doing this for the American people and their grandchildren.”
Cain also emphasized he did not know Sharon Bialek. “I don’t even know who this woman is,” said Cain. “I tried to remember if I recognized her but I didn’t.” He did remark that “the Democrat machine in America” might be involved in spreading false rumors that are intended to harm him.
Four women have accused Cain of sexual harassment. The Daily Tuesday, an iPad only news source, has identified one of the former employees of the National Restaurant Association as 55 year-old Karen Kraushaar, now a Treasury Department spokesperson, who plans to speak on the issue later Tuesday or Wednesday, possibly holding a joint news conference with other accusers.
"When you are being sexually harassed in the workplace, you are extremely vulnerable," Kraushaar told The New York Times. "You do whatever you can to quickly get yourself into a job some place safe and that is what I thought I had achieved when I left."
In an earlier Tuesday afternoon interview with ABC News/Yahoo, Cain was adamant that he did not remember Bialek. “And as far as these latest charges, I don’t even remember her – I reject all of those charges. How can I defend charges when I don’t even remember this person by name,” said Cain.
Bialek appeared with celebrity attorney Gloria Allred on Monday to discuss details on her harassment charges against Cain. While in Washington, D.C., hoping to get assistance on employment, she said Cain put his hand under her skirt and also grabbed her head and brought it toward his crotch after a dinner in 1997.
Asked if he would take a lie detector test to validate the charges, he said, “Yes, I absolutely would use a lie detector test.” Cain also asked the media to leave his family alone, instead directing questions to him alone. His wife, he noted, has been supportive of him.
“We have big major issues in this country. Let’s get back to them,” Cain said as he ended his press conference.