Mona Charen

It's certainly possible that the two women who received "settlements" from the National Restaurant Association were either overly sensitive or dishonest. But Cain, who initially denied the existence of settlements, has not encouraged the NRA to release all concerned confidentiality agreements, so that others can judge for themselves. He has not asked the NRA to disclose the findings, which he says proved at least one of the allegations to be "baseless." He has claimed that he does not know Bialek, yet witnesses saw them hugging at a Tea Party event a few weeks ago. If Bialek is telling the truth, it's an open question why she chose to embrace Cain. But if Cain is telling the truth, his memory lapses alone might disqualify him (along with the hapless Gov. Perry) from consideration for the presidency.

Meanwhile, Cain and his campaign have engaged in wild, unsubstantiated accusations of their own, lashing out at the Rick Perry campaign and accusing a staffer of orchestrating the leaks. Campaign Manager Mark Block later falsely suggested that Karen Kraushaar, one of the women involved in the NRA settlements, was the mother of Josh Kraushaar. "So we've come to find out that her son works at Politico," Block told Sean Hannity. Except that Josh Kraushaar (who now works for another publication) and Karen Kraushaar are not related. When Hannity asked whether they had checked out the story, Block said, "We've confirmed that he does indeed work at Politico and that's his mother, yes."

The ghost of Bill Clinton haunts the Cain campaign in other respects as well. After Bialek's press conference, the Cain campaign released a slashing attack on Bialek, itemizing personal bankruptcies, custody battles and other problems. It wasn't quite James Carville on Paula Jones ("If you drag a dollar bill through a trailer park . . .") but it wasn't uplifting either.

Bartiromo asked a perfectly appropriate question --character still matters.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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