ROCHESTER, Mich. – One of the most visible women in Democratic politics on Wednesday called on Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain to “come clean” about allegations of sexual harassment leveled by a number of female former employees at the National Restaurant Association.


(Charles Dharapak/AP)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said she finds the accusations “disturbing” and said Cain “should step up and go beyond just his flat denials because they stretch credulity.”

“As a woman specifically, these allegations are disturbing and very serious, and Herman Cain needs to come clean and be very clear about what happened,” Wasserman Schultz said in an interview here. “It’s hard to imagine four completely different women, who have no previous connection to each other, would come forward separately, coincidentally. So he needs to come clean. Flat denials don’t cut it -- especially when his former employer reached settlements with two of them.”

Cain denied Tuesday that he had harassed anybody, suggesting that the “Democrat machine” was working against him by peddling the accusations to keep a businessman from winning the White House.

Asked about that allegation, Wasserman Schultz laughed. “Of course we’re not,” she said. “That’s ludicrous.”

Wasserman Schultz was in Michigan Wednesday for a series of media interviews pegged to the CNBC Republican presidential candidates debate. The chairwoman said she believes the Cain drama is indicative of “disturbingly deficient” field of candidates.

“It’s just unbelievably disappointing that we’re having to spend all this time on this,” Wasserman Schultz said. “What people really want us to be talking about is creating jobs and getting the economy turned around and how we can work together to do that.”

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