*Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has flat out denied accusations of sexual harassment by four different women, and says the firestorm is happening now only because “someone is basically trying to wreck my character and plant doubt in the minds” of voters.
“I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period,” Cain said at the beginning of his a press conference Tuesday in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“I will not allow false accusations to in any way shed badly on my character and my integrity,” he continued. “That’s why I decided to address these issues directly and forthrightly. I repeat, I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period.”
Cain said he had no idea who Sharon Bialek was when she and her attorney Gloria Allred held their press conference Monday to discuss her allegations.
“I sat there and went over and over and over and over in my mind ‘Do I know this lady?’ The answer kept coming up ‘No,’” said Cain. “I watched her again today when she appeared on Fox News with her attorney doing [an] interview. [I was] sitting there trying to remember ‘Do I know her?’ I didn’t recognize the face, I didn’t recognize the name, nor the voice.”
[As previously reported, a Chicago radio host claims to have seen Bialek and Cain talking to each other at a Tea Party conference just last month.]
Cain said his wife Gloria does not believe any of the accusers, and quoted her as saying, “I have known you for 46 years because we were engaged for two years, and [the allegation from Sharon Bialek] doesn’t even sound like anything you would ever do to anyone.”
“My family fully supports my candidacy and they know the man that I am,” said Cain. “I ask that the media not drag my family into this. They are not running for president.”
Cain added that he would be willing to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence. Watch below.
Meanwhile, minutes before Cain’s presser, another one of his four accusers came forward to discuss her allegations against Cain in an interview with the New York Times.
Karen Kraushaar, whose identity was revealed Tuesday morning by iPad-only news outlet The Daily, told the Times that she was ready to talk now that her name had been made public. She claims Cain sexual harassed her while serving as head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
Kraushaar, a spokeswoman at the Treasury Department in Washington D.C., said she was upset that her name had leaked into some press reports, but she decided to speak out now that her identity is known.
“When you are being sexually harassed in the workplace, you are extremely vulnerable,” she told the 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.”
Kraushaar was one of the two women behind Politico’s original report about alleged sexual harassment perpetrated by Cain. She had requested that her lawyer protect her identity while objecting to Cain’s claims that he had participated in no wrongdoing while head of the NRA.
At his press conference, Cain said he does remember Kraushaar, because “she is the one that I recall that filed a complaint, but it was found to be baseless. There was no legal settlement. There was an agreement between that lady and the National Restaurant Association and it was treated as a personnel matter because there was no basis to her allegations.” Cain details his encounter with Kraushaar below.
Kraushaar has expressed an interest in “the idea of a joint press conference where all of the women would be together with our attorneys and all of this evidence would be considered together.”
She said of Cain: “These allegations can be considered together as a body of evidence.”
Below, Herman Cain said there will likely be more allegations of sexual harassment to come, and those will be false as well. “And if they continue to come, I will continue to respond,” he says.