Gloria Cain stepped forward to defend her husband, Herman Cain, against the sexual misconduct allegations dogging his presidential campaign in an interview broadcast the same day the former boyfriend of accuser Sharon Bialek told reporters he can support at least part of his ex-girlfriend's claim.
At a news conference in Shreveport, La., Dr. Victor Zuckerman, a pediatrician, said Ms. Bialek, then his girlfriend, told him in 1997 she had been groped by Mr. Cain after a dinner meeting in the District.
"When she returned, she was upset. She said that something had happened and that Mr. Cain had touched her in an inappropriate manner. She said she handled it but didn't want to talk about it any further. I respected her request," Dr. Zuckerman said at the conference arranged by Gloria Allred, the celebrity attorney representing Ms. Bialek.
But Mrs. Cain, in an interview taped for Monday's broadcast of Greta Van Susteren's "On The Record," said the allegations against the front-running GOP candidate don't sound like her husband of 43 years.
"To hear such graphic allegations, we know that would have been something that's totally disrespectful of her as a woman," she said. "And I know that's not the person he is. He totally respects women."
"He would have to have a split personality to do the things" his accusers have claimed, Mrs. Cain said.
Ms. Bialek, one of four women who have accused the former Godfather's Pizza CEO of inappropriate behavior, held a Nov. 7 news conference with Ms. Allred at her side to tell reporters that Mr. Cain put his hand under her skirt and "grabbed my head and brought it towards his crotch" as they sat in a car after a 1997 dinner.
Mr. Cain responded immediately with his own news conference, saying, "I have never acted inappropriately with anyone. Period." He added that as he watched Ms. Bialek's conference, his reaction was, "I don't even know who this woman is. I tried to remember if I recognized her and I didn't."
But the 50-year-old woman's boyfriend at the time said Monday that Mr. Cain met both of them at a party before Ms. Bialek traveled to Washington to seek help with a job search from Mr. Cain, then president of the National Restaurant Association.
"At that party, Mr. Cain engaged both of us in conversation," Dr. Zuckerman said while describing a hotel suite gathering Mr. Cain invited them to after an NRA event in Chicago.
Dr. Zuckerman, who said he is a registered Republican, said he had not received any incentive to go public.
Mr. Cain vehemently has denied the charges, which first surfaced in an Oct. 30 article on the Politico website, but the allegations seem to be taking a toll of the Georgia businessman's standing with Republican voters.
A new CNN/ORC International survey released Monday showed national support for Mr. Cain is down from 25 percent last month to 14 percent. In that poll, the GOP field is led by Mitt Romney, who fell two points to 24 percent, and Newt Gingrich, who surged to 22 percent.
The phone poll of 480 Republicans and independents who lean Republican was conducted over the weekend and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
Another survey released Monday, by Public Policy Polling, has support for Mr. Gingrich at 28 percent, Mr. Cain at 25 percent and Mr. Romney at 18 percent, with the trio far ahead of the rest of the presidential pack.
Mr. Cain's campaign seemed to take another hit Monday with the release of a taped interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In the video, Mr. Cain struggled to explain his position on President Obama's handling of Libya, at one point asking if the president supported the revolt against Moammar Gadhafi.
"President Obama supported the uprising, correct?" he asks. "I just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing before I say, 'Yes, I agree,' or, 'No, I didn't agree.' I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason - nope, that's a different one."
Mr. Cain paused before continuing: "I gotta go back and see. I got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically, what are you asking me? Did I agree or not disagree with Obama?"
• This article based on staff and wire reports.
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