Within mere moments of finishing up a post suggesting that the Herman Cain flap might finally be fizzling, two words flashed across my Twitter stream that instantly changed the calculus: Gloria Allred. Allred, an infamous legal leech, will reportedly go public with a new woman accusing Herman Cain of sexual harassment. Gossip cyber-rag Radar Online has the exclusive:
A new woman alleging sexual harassment by presidential hopeful Herman Cain will break her silence at a news conference with her powerhouse attorney Gloria Allred Monday afternoon in New York City, RadarOnline.com is exclusively reporting. The embattled GOP nominee has admitted that several women who worked at the National Restaurant Association during his tenure as president of the organization received settlements. Politico has reported that the settlements were given because of sexual harassment allegations. The woman, who will be the first to go public on Monday, sought Cain's help with an employment issue and was allegedly sexually harassed by him. Allred and her client will discuss, in detail, what she alleges occurred with Cain.
Ed Morrissey sagaciously notes that Radar Online's political reporting should be considered with extreme caution. Sometimes they bring the goods; sometimes they really, really don't. I guess this scoop will be pretty immediately verifiable, right? If Allred shows up in front of a gaggle of cameras with a weeping "victim" later this afternoon, Radar's reporting will be vindicated in this case. The credibility of the accuser -- and her attorney -- are an entirely separate story, however. Based on the report quoted above, this woman is someone other than the two former NRA employees who sought and received pay-outs from the company in the late 1990s. It's unclear whether the "new" accuser is different from the third nameless individual who came forward to the Associated Press last week. If and when this tawdry presser unfolds today, we'll likely be treated to the story of a woman who never actually reported Cain's alleged misbheavior at the time they supposedly occurred. That fact alone should raise some red flags. She will, however, detail exactly what Cain ostensibly did or said to her -- which would mark the first time any specifics from any accuser have been brought to light.
As we brace for the latest act in this three-ring circus, let's take a stroll down memory lane. This isn't the first time Gloria Allred has inserted herself into a political race. In fact, just last fall, she helped dirty-up California GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. Before that, she represented a woman who leveled a (later dismissed) sexual assault charge against Arnold Schwarzenegger in the closing days of his 2003 campaign. She also latched on to a Weinergate woman as that scandal engulfed and destroyed a sitting Congressman. All of that is to say that although Allred's batting average ain't perfect, she shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. That's a sick truth, considering how deplorable she is, but it's a truth nonetheless. Don't forget that Allred has been itching to enter the Cain maelstorm for days now, so it appears her shameless trolling for a potential client has finally paid off. What a charmer. Stay tuned...
UPDATE - Yeah, this is happening. Allred's press release addresses a few of the questions I raised above:
A woman who alleges that she was sexually harassed by Presidential hopeful, Herman Cain, when she sought his help with an employment issue when he was President of the National Restaurant Association will hold a news conference with her Attorney, Gloria Allred on Monday, November 7th, at 1:30 p.m. (e.s.t.) at the Friars Club, 57 East 55th Street New York, NY 10022. The woman is not one of the three women who have previously been reported to have alleged sexual harassment by Cain. Ms. Allred’s client will be the first to give her name and to speak out about details of what she alleges occurred between her and Cain.
Gross. By the way, Cain now leads in Iowa by fifteen points. Is there any chance this latest revelation hurts him among Republican voters? Honestly, I'm more concerned that he punted several tough questions to Newt Gingrich during their Lincoln-Douglasesque exchange in Texas over the weekend:
It’s pretty clear that Gingrich had the better of this debate. He had better command of both the issues and the facts, offered plenty of corroborative studies and resources, and managed to make all of it accessible to the average voter. Cain did well at times, but twice had to ask Newt to handle questions first, which isn’t exactly a confidence builder. Cain seemed confused about the difference between defined-benefit and premium-support approaches on Medicare, getting confused between pension plans and health care later on the same point. While Cain discussed philosophical approaches to these issues confidently, Gingrich had actual data at the ready, and the difference was telling.
UPDATE II - The video of one of those exchanges is even worse than the written description lets on. Remember, Cain was fully aware that this discussion was going to focus on entitlement programs, so a question about (essentially) the status quo vs. the Ryan Plan shouldn't have stumped him. Oof: