Politics

Herman Cain: Doesn't Even Recall Meeting Sharon Bialek

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Herman Cain emphasizing his chin.

Here are my notes from Herman Cain's press conference, during which the Republican presidential hopeful and former Godfather's Pizza brand manager responded to questions about sexual harassment claims several women have made in recent weeks. 

Not included is the following important note to self: Sharon Bialek is not TV's Punky Brewster. Mayim Bialik was TV's Blossom. Soleil Moon Frye was TV's Punky Brewster. 

Notes: 

First reaction was: Never even met this woman. 

Of course I would be willing to do a lie detector test. 

I believe the character of a candidate should come under scrutiny. 

Take sexual harassment seriously. 

When I saw it I dealt with it. 

Can't tell you what the motivation is, other than to stop Herman Cain. 

Re. Mitt Romney finding accusations disturbing. I find the accusations disturbing, but false. They're disturbing because they distract me and my team. I know Mitt Romney and his integrity. 

Democratic machine: I cannot say it's a conspiracy. Can only look at some coincidences. No fingers, no blame on anybody at this point. Step back: No facts, no evidence, can only infer that someone is trying to hurt my character. 

Accuser's financial troubles: She claims number of lawsuits she's been involved in does not play a role in her coming forward. Can't comment, but common sense: we should ask. 

Re. settlement of previous claim: Not sure about tens of thousands of dollars figure you're talking about. Not going to get caught in that trap. She and her attorney talked to attorney for National Restaurant Association. They decided it should end with some kind of personnel separation agreement. She worked at Restaurant Association for some time. I recall that when I left she was preparing to leave. Sometimes saw her around workplace. When we would attend planning meeting she'd attend planning meeting, because at planning meetings I included direct reports and next level down. I was in the field more than I was in the office. 

"My wife comes up to my chin" story repeated largely as previously described. 

Going to be more claims in the future. 

This nation faces tremendous crises. I would hope we can get back, not allow ourselves to be continuously distracted. I will respond to them but we cannot slow this campaign down. 

Mild applause at end. 

I confess that I have not given the Cain sexual harassment charges the attention others in the professional media believe those charges merit. Like my colleague Peter Suderman, I believe Herman Cain is an incompetent candidate even by the all-too-forgiving standards of the two-party system, and I don't need to take character into consideration before deciding not to vote for or ever say anything in support of a former Federal Reserve official who wants to give the federal government the power to collect both income and sales taxes.