Watching his surreal press conference this afternoon reminded me a little of the Lonesome Rhodes character in Elia Kazan's classic about a small-town drifter who becomes a national media sensation. It's a great film on all sorts of levels, especially in its prescience about the power of smooth-talkers in a media-centric age (amazingly, it was made in 1957). Like Lonesome, Cain obviously believes in his power of persuasion - even when the evidence against him is building. At last check, there are five women who claim he acted inappropriately with them - and now there are reports that one of the women who refused to come forward publicly last week is having second thoughts (this press conference may have done the trick). She's even considering her own press conference. So simply taking aim at Sharon Bialek and her attorney Gloria Allred will not be enough. I don't know how much longer this might play out, but it's obvious that "deny, deny, deny" is not a viable strategy. From Andrew Sullivan:
Cain has just given this story major new life. The total denials are accusations of total cynicism and lies from a variety of women whose only common factor seems to be they were grossed out by Herman Cain. They will be forced to respond to being called liars. And I repeat: the existence of five separate complaints - and contemporaneous witnesses to those complaints - makes a big difference to me in trying to judge the truth of these stories. I see no ulterior motive, no grand conspiracy to prevent Cain from getting to the White House (and if there were, it would more likely be a Republican than a Democrat at this point), no reason for so many disparate women to say essentially the same thing. So you conclude that Cain is either lying or in complete denial. Neither is exactly a recommendation for a potential president of the United States.