Guy Benson

Herman Cain will directly confront Sharon Bialek's accusations against him in a press conference at 5pm ET this this evening.  He previewed his approach to combating her story on Jimmy Kimmel's late night TV program last night:
 


 

This press conference came on at 10:30 and my wife did watch it and I called her immediately afterwards. As I was sitting there, I had a few of my staff members there with me, and I'm sitting here and they're watching me and they could see the steam coming out of my ears. And the feelings that you have when you know that all of this is totally fabricated and you go from anger then you go — you get disgusted, you try to control yourself to make sure you watch this thing all the way through it.

I was listening very closely and then when it was all over with, I said, well I know what we got to do because there's not an ounce of truth in all of these accusations and my team is putting this stuff together. that is why I'm willing to do a press conference tomorrow to set the record straight....


From a human standpoint, it's hard not to empathize with the guy if he's completely innocent.  It's impossible to prove a negative, which must be indescribably frustrating.  All he can do is deny the charges and hope that his detractor's story falls apart.  We'll see what, exactly, Cain says this afternoon, but he set a very high bar in the Kimmel interview.  He said that there's not "an ounce of truth" to the accusations.  What happens if dribs and drabs of verifiable elements of Bialek's story starts checking out?  We already know she is a Republican and she did attend TeaCon in Chicagoland, as she claimed.  Investigative journalists are no doubt looking into her assertion that Cain upgrading her Capital Hilton suite in 1997.  In other words, there are several loose ends being chased  down.  Cain has to be very careful about what he says.  If he offers blanket assurances that Bialek's entire tale is false, then it turns out that certain specifics are true, his backtracking will seem incriminating.  In other words, Cain supporters had better hope that their candidate has done his homework and is prepared to give a complete and truthful press conference today.  "Winging it" is far too risky in this situation -- a reality that his team must realize, despite their recent incompetence.
 
In the meantime, others will continue to examine Bialek, the only accuser who's chosen to go public.  We now know she's been involved in several legal skirmishes in recent years, which may or may not be relevant.  Still, an interesting data point.  This, however, seems odd:
 

“I recall Sharon was hell bent on going backstage at the TeaCon convention — where she cornered him,” said Jacobson. “I was surprised to hear she claims she did not know Cain was going to be there. Cain was expected and was late.” Bialek told the media on Monday: “I went up to him and asked him if he remembered me. I wanted to see if he would be man enough to own up to what he had done 14 years ago.” The encounter: “It looked sort of flirtatious,” said Jacobson. “I mean they were hugging. But she could have been giving him the kiss of death for all I know. I had no idea what they were talking about, but she was inches from his ear.”


(Full disclosure: I used to work with the primary source for this story, Amy Jacobsen, back at WIND in Chicago -- the flagship station for my weekend radio program).  On one level, this account corroborates Bialek's statement.  She said she confronted Cain about his behavior at TeaCon, and Jacobsen's recollection at least confirms that the two did, indeed, exchange words.  Remember, this all happened weeks before Politico first reported anything about sexual harassment allegations.  But if Bialek was "hell bent" on confronting Cain over his unwanted and completely inappropriate (based on her description) behavior, why would she have hugged him?  Jacobsen speculates that she may have been charming him in order to land her haymaker, but acting "flirtatiously" does seem strange to me, given the context. 
 
5:00 pm ET is shaping up to be must-see-TV.  I'll be en route to Michigan to cover tomorrow evening's GOP debate, but the Townhall team will have you covered.

Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography