UPDATED: As so many of the commenters had noted, PJM has issued a few substantial corrections to the original story. I’ll print them here and then strike through the relevant passages in what I quoted earlier:
(CORRECTIONS: A previous version of this story mentioned that a source witnessed Cain and the woman entering a taxi together. This was incorrect.
The previous version also mentioned that the woman awoke in Cain’s bed — the source only claimed that the woman awoke in Cain’s apartment.
The previous version incorrectly attributed comments from one source to the other source.)
Do these retractions change the story? Undoubtedly, in a big way. If the fact that no source claimed the girl woke up in Cain’s bed implies that some source knows that she did not, it obviously shifts the weight of the evidence. Likewise, if nobody saw her get into a cab, does that mean that there is some other firsthand knowledge that the girl went home with Cain that the sources are relying on? Or are they relying only on hearsay? If so, this is just as thin, and only a little less vague, than all the other charges we’ve heard.
On the other hand, there’s a funny thing about the metaphysics of newspaper corrections. We tend to be so (healthily) suspicious of media attacks on the Right, that I’d wager if the New York Times ran an A1, top of the fold story about Newt Gingrich slaughtering a house full of coeds as part of a voodoo cult, and later retracted the bit about him running a red light during his getaway, it would redound to his benefit. Okay, that’s a gross exaggeration. But the psychological phenomenon is real.
Mark and Ramesh, I’d certainly agree that a “darling” is nothing to get excited over. This, on the other hand:
Adding to the ongoing Herman Cain sexual harassment controversy, two sources have now confirmed to PJ Media that a female employee of the National Restaurant Association told associates she had been brought by Mr. Cain to his Crystal City, Virginia residence where she alleged “he had taken advantage of me.”
One source, a male, told PJ Media:
Herman took advantage of seniority and power with a young woman. It was an abuse of power.
Implying that coming forward with the accusations was an ordeal for the young woman, the source also said:
Who do you believe, a CEO or a mid-level staffer? It was unsettling for her to make charges.
The name of the woman — who was in her early twenties at the time of the alleged incident — has been confirmed by PJ Media. We have chosen not to reveal her identity for reasons of discretion.
According to both sources, Mr. Cain and the woman had been with a large group for a long evening of food and drink at the Ciao Baby Cucina, a restaurant near NRA headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. This was a normal routine, as the trade association worked with the food and beverage industry.
Afterwards, Mr. Cain allegedly took the woman by taxi to his apartment, where she spent the night and woke up in his bed.
[. . .]
Neither source has direct knowledge of what occurred at Mr. Cain’s residence, but several days after the alleged incident, the male source witnessed the woman returning to her workplace “distraught.” “She was very upset.”
One source told PJ Media: “Some people didn’t believe [the accuser]” at the time she made the allegation. The female source recalls the woman continued working at the NRA for several weeks after the encounter; the male source recalls the woman continued working there for a few months.
Now even if everything in the PJM story is true (and I’m not speculating that it is), there still aren’t enough details to understand exactly what Cain is supposed to have done wrong. In the very least, it’s a bad idea — and a poor mark on character — for a married man in a position of power over a younger woman to initiate an affair with said woman. If he pressured her into a sexual encounter, either implicitly or explicitly, from that position of power, then he’d indeed be culpable in a civil harassment suit.