A fifth woman, Donna Donella, has come forward to question Herman Cain's past behavior in the wake of a storm of sexual harassment allegations that culminated in one woman, Sharon Bialek, saying the GOP presidential hopeful attempted to sexually assault her.
Donella, 40, of Arlington, Va., is a former employee at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). According to Donella, the Republican primary candidate asked her to arrange a dinner date for him with a female audience member following a speech he delivered in 2002, and then attempted to set up a dinner with Donella herself.
The Fifth Woman
According to an interview with The Examiner, Donella met Cain at a USAID-back speech he gave to bussinessmen and women in Egypt nine years ago. At the conference, an attractive Egyptian businesswoman in her 30s asked Cain a question.
And after the seminar was over, Donella said, Cain came over to me and a colleague and said, 'Could you put me in touch with that lovely young lady who asked the question, so I can give her a more thorough answer over dinner?'
Donella and her colleagues remembered being suspicious of Cain's motives. She declined to set up the date, to which Cain allegedly responded: Then you and I can have dinner.
Two female colleagues who overheard the conversation came to Donella's aid. They suggested they all go out to dinner together. Cain agreed, and Cain was a gentleman at the restaraunt... at least until he ordered two $400 bottles of wine and stuck the USAID employees with the tab.
Donella didn't hear from Cain again until Christmas, when he sent the women copies of his gospel CD, and two have not met since.
Donella said she felt it was important to describe the encounter after hearing about Sharon Bialek and the allegations of sexual harassment brought forward by POLITICO.
I couldn't swear that he had some untoward intentions, Donella was careful to say, but we all thought his tone was suspect, and we didn't feel comfortable putting him in touch with that woman.
Donella no longer works for USAID. She is an independent who says she voted for Obama in 2008 and likely will again in 2012. I think [Cain] should not be a serious candidate for the presidential nomination because of what I've seen, Donella said. He's not a person I would want running the country.
Frisky or Unacceptable Conduct?
The Cain 2012 campaign has not responded to requests for comment, and Donella's status as the fifth woman is still being broken by the press. Much of media attention, and that of American voters, is focused intently on the press conference Herman Cain will give at 5 p.m. EST in Phoenix, Arizona, to answer Sharon Bialek and her attorney Gloria Allred.
Already however, conservative and independent blogs are fighting over whether Donella's story is proof that Cain has lost his chance at (and right to) the presidency or whether it's proof that such accusations are fluff pieces bent on taking down the GOP's best shot against President Obama.
RightWing News writer William Teach found the allegations ridiculous. What all this means, if true, is that Herman Cain is... frisky. A horndog, Teach wrote. Saying Cain's behavior was no different than the philandering of Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy, Teach argued that Democrats were allowed to claim allegations were just sex and a private issue while conservatives were destroyed. He ended by implying that even President Barack Obama, one half of Washington's first family power couple, might have a few skeletons in his closet, as well.
Liberatarian-independent blog Death and Taxes however, had a different take. 5 women is a consensus, writer Alex Moore wrote. Who knows how many more will come forward? Two have already come forward this week and it's only Tuesday.
Moore, like Teach, had a question to present, but this blogger wanted to know what vetting process Cain could possibly have undergone before deciding to run for the Republican nomination. Perhaps, as has been suggested, Cain never really thought he'd get far enough to matter Moore wrote. Perhaps this whole thing was a ruse to raise his profile and raise some money in the process.
If so, it has certainly worked. Herman Cain's name, no matter how these sexual harassment allegations play out, will have a legacy in American history. Whether that legacy resembles Clarence Thomas or Bill Clinton, or even JFK or LBJ, is another matter.