Cain held a press conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, denying the allegations, in particular seamy details offered by Sharon Bialek, who accused him of forcing himself on her in a car in Washington.
The press conference in Arizona was billed by his campaign team as an opportunity to clear the air. But Cain failed to put the issue to rest. His campaign began to lose any vestiges of dignity when Cain, responding to a reporter, agreed to take a lie-detector test.
On the prospect he could drop out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Cain asserted, “Ain’t gonna happen.” He accused the “Democratic machine” of manufacturing the controversy.
Cain also attempted to clarify that he was not undermining the issue of sexual harassment, and said that it was not an act only perpetrated against women.
“Let me reiterate that sexual harassment is a very serious charge,” Cain said. “I’ve also seen situations where women have attempted to sexually harass men.”
Meanwhile, a second woman coming forward to abandon anonymity and publicly accuse him of sexual harassment.
The woman, Karen Kraushaar, a 55-year-old treasury official, said she wanted all four women making sexual harassment allegations to hold a joint press conference.
Kraushaar, a public relations official at the treasury and an author of a children’s book, tried to protect her anonymity last week, making allegations through her lawyer. But, after being outed by the media, she proposed joint action.
“I am interested in a joint press conference for all the women, where we would all be together with our attorneys and all of these allegations could be reviewed as a collective body of evidence,” she told the Washington Post.
Kraushaar mentioned she had left the National Restaurant Association because of concerns for her safety. “When you’re in a work situation where you are being sexually harassed, you are in an extremely vulnerable position. You do whatever you can to quickly get yourself a job someplace where you will be safe,” she said.
Although Mr Cain said he did not recall Bialek, he admitted he remembered Kraushaar.
He said that Bialek was lying and attempted to discredit her, saying she had financial troubles and was a “troubled” character.
With regard to Kraushaar, Cain said he could recall her and that she had complained of sexual harassment. The only incident he could recall was one in which he had compared her in height with his wife. She had complained and left the National Restaurant Association with a financial settlement.
On whether he anticipates additional charges of sexual harassment could arise on top of the handful that came to light over the past week, Cain said on Tuesday, “There will probably be others” because there’s “a machine” working to keep “a businessman out of the White House.” He added that if more accusations continue to surface, he “will continue to respond.”
Cain, 65, the former chief executive of the National Restaurant Association and of Godfather’s Pizza, had established himself as the surprise frontrunner in the Republican race to take on Barack Obama for the White House next year.
But some of Cain’s rivals for the Republican nomination began to voice concerns, a day before the candidates gather in Michigan for a debate.
“These are serious allegations,” Mitt Romney told an ABC News/Yahoo interview. “And they’re going to have to be addressed seriously. I don’t have any counsel for Herman Cain or for his campaign, they have to take their own counsel on this.”
Another rival, Newt Gingrich, told a separate ABC/Yahoo interview: “Clearly Herman Cain has to answer the charges. He has to explain what happened. He has to do so in a way that’s convincing, and I think that’s unavoidable.” [via Guardian, Reuters and Huff Post]