Cain on new accuser: I don't remember her
November 8th, 2011
04:42 PM ET
11 years ago

Cain on new accuser: I don't remember her

(CNN) – Republican presidential front-runner Herman Cain denied new accusations from a woman who publicly alleged Monday that Cain had sexually groped her in 1997.

"I don't even remember her. I reject all of those charges," Cain told ABC News. "How can I defend charges when I don't remember this person by name?"

Political Notebook: CNN’s Bob Costantini talks with Republican Strategist Cheri Jacobus about growing allegations against Herman Cain. And the Belief Blog looks at Rick Perry.

Sharon Bialek and her attorney, Gloria Allred, held a news conference on Monday, in which they claimed Cain made unwanted sexual advances when he led the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s.

She said the incidents occurred when she visited Cain about a job opportunity in Washington in 1997.

Bialek said when she objected to his behavior at the time, Cain asked, "You want a job, right?"

She is one of four women reported to claim they were harassed by Cain, and she is the only one to openly speak about the charges.

On Tuesday, CNN confirmed the identity of the first accuser as Karen Kraushaar, director of communications at a bureau within the Treasury Department who worked at the restaurant association from 1998 to 1999.

New details emerged last week showing that two of the women received payouts and left their jobs, reportedly after accusing Cain of inappropriate behavior.

In numerous media appearances and campaign events, Cain has vehemently denied all accusations.

On Tuesday, he strongly pushed back against the new charges, saying he watched the press conference and had no memory of her.

"Throughout my career I have had nothing but the utmost respect for any and all women, as well as those that have worked under my leadership and all of the different companies that I have worked," Cain said. "I can categorically say I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period."

After Bialek's news conference Monday, the Cain campaign released an email to supporters with details on Bialek, including her financial problems and her involvement in numerous lawsuits as a defendant.

On Tuesday Cain continued his line of attack on the media for pushing the story and pleaded that his family be left out of the coverage.

"Take all the attacks at me you want. I'm running for president. My family is not running. Leave my family out of these things," Cain said.

He added that his wife of 43 years also watched the conference Monday, but she felt the woman was lying and supported him "200%."

A number of presidential candidates responded to the new accusations on Tuesday during a series of interviews with ABC News. Many of them said the claims were a distraction from discussing the nation's problems.

"It's a distraction and Herman Cain can deal with it however Herman Cain chooses to deal with it," said former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said: "I'm giving you my opinion: I don't have an interest in getting off of my message on how we create jobs in this country. A lot of allegations and 'he saids, she saids,' "

Meanwhile, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann repeated a line she's used for days, saying she won't comment on the allegations but insisted voters won't get any "surprises" from her.

"I have absolutely nothing to contribute to that discussion," Bachmann said. "But what my comments were is that when you look at Michele Bachmann, when you look at me, there will be no policy surprises whatsoever coming out of me."

Others took a stronger stance, notably Cain's most competitive opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who described Bialek's claims as "serious" and "disturbing."

"They're going to have to be addressed seriously. I don't have any counsel for Herman Cain, for his campaign. They'll have to take their own counsel on this, but anytime there's an accuser that comes forward with charges of this nature, you recognize this is a very serious matter and it should be taken seriously," Romney said.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum described the charges as "troubling" and said Cain, as a presidential candidate, will have to answer to anything lobbed his direction.

"All the other candidates are going to be held accountable for their positions and what they've done in their life," Santorum said.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also weighed in, saying the game has changed now that a woman is speaking openly about the charges. Gingrich argued that Cain has an obligation to respond.

"He has to explain what happened, he has to do so in a way that's convincing. And I think that's unavoidable. And I think that he both owes her that, but he also owes the American people that, and I think, I hope he can do it well," Gingrich said.

- CNN's Gabriella Schwarz, Kevin Bohn, Gloria Borger, Jim Acosta and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. normajean @ verizon ,com

    To Recrossed.........Who are you to say the accusations don't have a credible base?????????If a victim has enough courage to come on nation television and two other victims have been paid off......It seems pretty certain that the stories are credible.....Do you have that little respect for women???? Respect for some men is fading by the minute!!!!!

    November 8, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. DDanny1

    When you honestly say the words "I have never in my life.....", chances are that whatever you are claiming you really never did, because it would stand out to you as the "one time" event (Ex. "I don't owe you money from poker. I have never in my life played poker"). When you say "I don't even remember that incident", it's usually because you have done it many times over a long period (I don't owe you money. I don't even remember playing poker with you".)

    November 8, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. unsub

    c'mon Cain! REALLY?

    November 8, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Nice, Mr. KochCain is invoking the Reagan defense. Either that or its the "I've harassed so many women I can't keep track defense" or, perhaps more daringly, the "white woman all look alike to me" defense.

    November 8, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. NameCA Cathy

    Herman – you lie! So dismissive. Good riddins!

    November 8, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. thomas

    Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi confirms he intends to step down.

    Herman Cain could move to Italy !

    November 8, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. v_mag

    Herman doesn't remember her. In fact, he doesn't remember half the women he fondled. So, that makes it alright, I guess.

    November 8, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. thomas

    They like Pizza in Italy !

    November 8, 2011 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. steven harnack

    Wasn't that his story when it first came out? Didn't happen because he couldn't remember it? That story changed by day 2 and then THAT story changed by day 3. He should at least fire his advisors 'cause something isn't working.

    November 8, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. Texas Doc

    So he remembers the other ones? "I was high on drank and don't quite remember that incident, but the others...." Real classy GOP.

    November 8, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  11. Sharon`

    I am not voting for Cain, just because I don't think he would make a great president. However, I don't believe these women, they wait 15 to 20 years to come forward now. No, they were not sexually harassed and they need to stop, their 15 minutes of fame is done. To many people out there claim sexual harassment and that's not what it is. People need to stop claiming this all the time, sometime it's just fun and nothing meant by it. Comparing a woman in height is NOT sexual harassment. These women need to get a life.

    November 8, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. v_mag

    Herman is applying for the job of President, and now he finds himself in an uncomfortable and embarrassing position. Kind of like those unfortunate women he groped.

    I love irony, don't you?

    November 8, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  13. kayla

    another one bites the dust

    November 8, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. Jamie from Riverside

    Sorry Heman. I saw your pitiful press conference and I don't believe you.

    November 8, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. FedUp

    Her story does not ring true to me. Just doesn't make sense. Sorry.

    November 8, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. The Lone Okie

    It's alot of women I don't remember too, it might be true or not.

    November 8, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. Hey Now!

    Amnesia! Excellent defense. I'm going to use it with my hubby. "Hey, did you leave the milk out?" I don't remember.

    November 8, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  18. Minnie's Pearls

    I don't remember her. Most of my victims were pretty blondes so after awhile, they all blend together.

    November 8, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  19. MartiM, TX

    This sounds like the alcoholic's "I don't remember" excuse to justify not acknowledging/apologizing. Just because you "don't remember" it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

    November 8, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. Linda

    Ever read comments made by abusers? They are very deft at either justifying their behavior or denying they ever did anything wrong. And they believe what they say because they are also pathological liars. Or they really don't think there's anything wrong with putting a hand up a woman's skirt, taking a shower with a ten -year-old, kidnapping a child and keeping them prisoner, having sex with your own daughter. Power - real or imagined - is lethal for men (and women) who feel entitled to use it against the vulnerable.

    November 8, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. G D

    But he can't explain what happened in any of these instances in a credible way. That is the problem, and that's just one of many reasons, including 9-9-9 with no credible economic advisors behind him, that Cain should do poorly with any person expecting an informed and honest candidate.

    November 8, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  22. jerseylou

    Nasty old creep!

    November 8, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  23. Not Domino's

    One or two accusers, well maybe that would be a political thing, maybe made up. But maybe not. However four, two of which were actual legally bone fide written and filed complaints, now that's another matter. I'll give him or anyone the benefit of the doubt. But still the ages' old adage of "Where there's smoke there's fire." should be considered. Or, "Smoke from one burned pizza is OK, but from four? That's a whole different restaurant!"

    November 8, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. ED FL

    Well Mr Cain if you do not remember her how can you remember that you never touched her. We will get to see that the GOP are the ones trying to get Cain.There is no way that a black man is ever going to have a shot as President as a member of the GOP TICKET.

    November 8, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  25. Sheldon

    "I can categorically say I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period."

    Gee, I wish I could say that. I'm pretty sure anyone who manages to reach middle age has at some time or another acted "inappropriately" in SOME way with SOME one at SOME time. Must be a terrible burden to carry around, all that perfection, Mr. Cain.

    November 8, 2011 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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