My point in the post below isn’t to defend Herman Cain or deny the seriousness of the charges. Not knowing the facts, I take no position on Cain’s guilt or innocence. But in order to derail Cain’s bid for the Republican nomination, a meaningful number of the GOP voters supporting him in Iowa, South Carolina, and other key states need to decide to stop supporting him because of the issues discussed in today’s press conference. Maybe the fourth allegation will convince these Republicans a.) that Cain is guilty, b.) at least something is amiss here or c.) that this will be a constant distraction that is not worth living with either way.
So far, the evidence shows Cain’s supporters rallying around him. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Cain holding steady in a statistical tie with Mitt Romney (Romney 28 percent, Cain 27). More problematic for Cain, it also shows his negatives rising from 18 percent to 35 percent. This poll was obviously conducted before the Bialek bombshell. I’m also starting to see more criticism of Cain’s conduct from commenters on conservative sites like this one, so maybe the scandal is starting to take its toll.
Aaron writes about Gloria Allred’s role below. Strictly speaking, Allred has no bearing on the veracity of Bialek’s accusations. But as a matter of human nature, it will have an impact on who finds these charges credible just as the role conservative Christians played in Paula Jones’ lawsuit against Bill Clinton influenced who was inclined to believe Jones. Ross is right that there is enough smoke to worry about fire, but there is also enough uncertainty to give people strongly inclined to give Cain the benefit of the doubt reason to do so.
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