Sharon Bialek's smirks aside, the accusations she made, many people have since noted since her press conference, sound not like sexual harassment, but sexual assault. The Cain campaign denied her claims mid-press conference, issuing a statement, "All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false." But as Bialek recounted how she'd once asked Herman Cain when he'd run for president, her eyebrow shot up a solid inch. When she explained that when she got to her unexpectedly palatial hotel room before her meeting back in 1997 with Cain -- Cain said he "upgraded" her, she said -- she smirked a little, like she was thinking, "I still can't believe he actually did this." Bialek's press conference, staged by the very media savvy celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, was a bit of a circus, and already a joke before it even started. The Daily Show's camera crew showed up; Howard Stern's producer jumped in front of the microphones, just as he did before Rep. Anthony Weiner's sexting press conference.
At left, Bialek smiles to herself just after she described encouraging Cain's presidential ambitions sometime before she says he harassed her. After losing her job with the National Restaurant Association in 1997, she says she contacted Cain at her boyfriend's suggestion -- the boyfriend got many mentions in the press conference -- for job ideas. They decided to meet, and she told him where she'd be staying in Washington. When she got there, Bialek says she thought the hotel had made a mistake -- her room was enormous. Then she figured her boyfriend wanted to surprise her. But no, it was Cain, who, Bialek claims, explained, "I upgraded you." Telling that bit of the story, Bialek smirked again, shown at right.