Sex scandal claims won’t derail me, says Republican Cain

2011-11-09 07:53

Los Angeles – Republican Herman Cain vowed yesterday not to be forced out of the White House race by a spiralling sexual harassment scandal, which he blamed on a “Democrat machine”, as a second accuser went public.

Struggling to keep a lid on the mounting allegations, the former pizza company boss dismissed all the claims as false – and said he would take a lie detector test to prove he was telling the truth, but only if necessary.

“We will get through this. The fact is these anonymous allegations are false, and now the Democrat machine in America has brought forth a troubled woman to make false accusations,” he told reporters in Arizona.

And he said: “As far as these accusations causing me to back off, and maybe withdraw from this presidential primary race – ain’t gonna happen. Because I’m doing this for the American people. “I will not deterred by false, anonymous, incorrect accusations,” he added.

His latest denial came after a woman, Sharon Bialek, accused Cain on Monday of groping her in a car in 1997 after she asked for help in finding a job when he was president of the National Restaurant Association.

Asked yesterday if Bialek was lying, Cain replied: “Yes, I’m saying that in as nice a way as I can. I can categorically say I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period.”

Minutes after Cain’s comments in Arizona, Bialek’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, fired back at Cain over his claim that Democrats were behind her client’s claims.

“Is he suggesting that I’m the Democratic machine or I’m manipulated by the Democratic machine, if there is one?” Allred said on CNN.

“If he’s saying that the Democratic machine had something to do with my representing my client, that is an absolute bold-face lie, and he needs to retract it.”

Meanwhile, a second accuser, Karen Kraushaar, broke her silence to say she was one of two women who had settled a claim against Cain for sexual harassment back in the 1990s, when she was employed by the National Restaurant Association.

She had issued a statement on Friday through her lawyer saying Cain had made a “series of inappropriate behaviours and unwanted advances”. And Kraushaar said yesterday it may be possible to corroborate her allegations.

“The incidents in question occurred many years ago, but corroboration may still be possible with respect to some of the incidents, and in some cases it may even be possible to find witnesses,” she was quoted as saying by USA Today.

Cain, once seen as the rank outsider in the race to be crowned the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, has been fighting mounting accusations of sexual harassment now involving four women.

The scandal is threatening to derail his campaign even as he vies with Republican veteran Mitt Romney at the top of the polls for the party’s nomination to take on Democratic President Barack Obama in the 2012 elections.

Cain said he was willing to take a polygraph test to prove he was telling the truth. “Of course I would be willing to do a lie detector test,” Cain told reporters, but added: “I’m not going to do that unless I have a good reason to do that.”

A new poll, taken at the start of allegations but before Bialek went public, showed Romney and Cain still in a statistical tie. The Wall Street Journal and NBC television poll put Romney on 28%, and Cain on 27%.

Another new poll yesterday, by the Pew Research Center, showed that 39% of Americans believed the accusations against Cain were true, while 24% thought they were false.

Washington news website Politico first broke the sexual harassment allegation story over a week ago, reporting on complaints from two women against Cain also dating back to the 1990s.

Kraushaar told USA Today she would be willing to appear with the other women who claimed Cain harassed them, to present their stories together, so “the court of public opinion can consider the allegation as a body of evidence”.

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