A Guide to the Cain Conspiracy Theories

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Herman Cain said he's not going to "point any fingers" at who might be conspiring to destroy his reputation with sexual harassment allegations, but the Internet is happy to fill that void. Where are these terrible stories coming from? The simplest possible answer is not always the most satisfying, so, in keeping with a grand tradition in American politics, several conservative sleuths are working on some alternatives. There are at least five distinct conspiracies so far.

Cain accuser Sharon Bialek lives in the same building as Obama adviser David Axelrod.

This is the only one that is actually true! Bialek confirmed on Fox News Tuesday that she and Axelrod live in the same Chicago apartment building, and like all neighborly neighbors, they've exchanged nods in the gym. Bialek denies having "any interaction with him" beyond that. "It is becoming rather difficult to believe that it is simply a coincidence that this blatantly fabricated 'scandal' is eminating from Chicagoland, under the shadow of Obama," conservative (and Vanity Fair profile subjectPat Dollard wrote. "Follow the yellow brick road......Axelrod straight to Obama," a Free Republic poster posted. "Not 2 degrees of separation not even 1 degree of separation. We are talking about direct contact with part of the Obama campaign," another one added. "We now know who Obama fears most."

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Bialek was in a lawsuit involving Axelrod.

Cain's campaign released court records showing Bialek has been involving in multiple court cases. In a 2009 case, documents show, "an interesting attorney named David Axelrod associating with her in court," blogger Lame Cherry writes. Apocalypse Paradigm says this is evidence of "organized crime." The National Patriot's Craig Andersen notes this detail and suggests Bialek's story is fake because she had to read the details at her press conference. Plus: "Have you notice, that while Herman Cain has held MANY high level positions in MANY companies and on MANY boards of directors…ONLY women from the NRA are making these accusations?" This idea got passed around on Twitter a lot Tuesday, but didn't stick, because, the thing is, Axelrod was representing the plaintiff and Bialek was the defendant. And much more important, it's not the same Axelrod, as Michelle Malkin explained in detail. The  Obama guy is named David M.; the lawyer is David J. 

Karen Kraushaar works for Obama.

Kraushaar was outed by The Daily Tuesday as the woman who got a $45,000 settlement after she said Cain harassed her. She was described as a "55-year-old former journalist and seasoned government spokeswoman."  What does that mean? In the grand organizational chart of the Executive Branch, she works for Obama. Noting that a friend said Kraushaar was "reliable," "has lots of integrity," and is "quality," The Blaze's Tiffany Gabbay writes, "'Quality' or not, one has to question the source of such a conveniently timed accusation when that source works for the Democratic incumbent." Kraushaar works for the Treasury department; she's a registered Republican.

Kraushaar's son works for Politico.

Cain spokesman Mark Block went running with this one on Sean Hannity's Fox News show Tuesday night. "At the press conference it was brought up that Karen Kraushaar had come out as one of the women, so we've come to find out that her son works at Politico, the organization that originally put this story out," Block said. "We've confirmed that he does indeed work at Politico and that's his mother, yes." Except: no. Kraushaar, who edits National Journal's The Hotline, hasn't worked for Politico for a year. More important, he's not related to Kraushaar. He tweets, "The only positive benefit about being smeared by Mark Block on Hannity is I'm getting 100 new Twitter followers a minute."

Joel Bennett is using Politico to fuel some sort of professional rivalry.

Joel Bennett is Kraushaar's lawyer; before she was named he told the press she'd was considering coming foward after Cain called her a liar. Larry Sinclair suggests Bennett made this media circus happen:

The fact that Bennett has from the beginning sought to tell the media that his client wanted to tell her story raises questions as to whether Mr. Bennett is Politico’s original source for the story. Surely Politico’s Jonathan Martin would not be the first Politico reporter to publish a political hit piece at the request of a DC Attorney. One only need look at Politico.com’s history of publishing attack pieces on behalf of the Obama camp as well as attorneys who represent Politico reporters ... and you will see the Herman Cain story has the same 'attorney' favor smell to it.

Sinclair's evidence? Politico once wrote an unflattering profile of him. Sinclair is the author of Barack Obama & Larry Sinclair: Cocaine, Sex, Lies & Murder?

Update 12:50p.m.: Here's one more conspiracy theory, though he hasn't really been fleshed out yet. Salon's Alex Pareene noticed this post on RedState by Dan Perrin that tosses out this idea in a parenthetical aside: "The media’s obsession with the Penn State sex scandal can be explained by the fact they think it will hurt Herman Cain."

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