Herman Cain Suspends Campaign
December 30, 2011 by staff
Herman Cain Suspends Campaign, Herman Cain, the charismatic former radio host and pizza magnate who electrified the Republican race for the White House, said Saturday that he was suspending his campaign after more than a month of fighting allegations of sexual misconduct.
With his wife, Gloria, at his side, Cain, 65, broke the news before several hundred disappointed supporters who had gathered for what was to have been the opening of his new national headquarters.
He continued to deny accusations that he sexually harassed several women while he was president of the National Restaurant Association and that he carried on a 13-year extramarital affair with Atlanta-area woman Ginger White. He suspended his campaign, he said, because the accusations and the media coverage were hurting his family.
The accusations have brought “a tremendous painful price on my family,” he said. “These false and unproven allegations continue to be spinned in the media and in the court of public opinion so as to create a cloud of doubt over me and this campaign and my family. That spin hurts.”
Cain said he will now turn his attention to “Plan B,” which begins with a new website — thecainsolutions.com — that he said he will use to continue to advocate for the ideas he raised in the campaign. And, by suspending rather than ending his campaign, Cain can continue to raise money and will also qualify for federal matching funds for 2012 candidates.
White’s attorney said in a statement after the announcement that Cain had disparaged his client and should apologize. Cain had called her a “troubled Atlanta businesswoman” whom he had tried to help.
“We continue to encourage Mr. Cain to retract these statements and apologize for the way he has characterized these women in the media,” Ed Buckley said. Cain’s campaign had no immediate response.
Jim Rosser of Brookhaven was among the more than 400 people in attendance Saturday. Like many in the crowd, he had hoped Cain would be able to continue campaigning.
“He could win the nomination, but all this stuff has got to be cleaned up,” said Rosser, 62, a retired manager at AT&T.
But in an interview, Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz, an expert on presidential politics, said Cain’s difficulties became insurmountable after White went on television last week and said she and Cain had had an affair.
“On top of everything else, it was going to make it very difficult for him to be taken seriously about anything else and to raise money,” Abramowitz said.
Cain and his wife met with about a dozen top supporters before Saturday’s speech to inform them of his decision.
In his address, Cain said he intends to endorse another candidate for the GOP nomination. A possible recipient of that support is Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and Georgia congressman with whom Cain enjoys a close relationship.
Following Cain’s announcement, Gingrich issued a statement saying Cain would continue to be “a powerful voice in the conservative movement.”
When Cain joined the already crowded GOP field in May, few national opinion leaders gave him much of a chance against more experienced, better-funded and better-known opponents.
Over the next four months, Cain did little to change their minds. In debates, his combination of inspirational speaker’s fire and natural-born charm served him well. But outside those gatherings, Cain drew little attention.
He released his 9-9-9 tax plan Aug. 18. But it was largely ignored as Texas Gov. Rick Perry jumped into the race and became the instant, if brief, frontrunner.
It wasn’t until late September that the “Cain train” began its surge with a surprise win in the closely contested Florida straw poll. He surged in the polls just as Perry’s campaign began to lurch, and suddenly it was a Mitt Romney vs. Cain contest.
Then, on Oct. 30, his troubles began. Washington-based Politico reported that two women had accused Cain of sexual harassment when he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. On Nov. 7, a Chicago woman held a news conference to say that Cain had groped her in 1997. And Monday, White went on Atlanta television and said she had had a 13-year extramarital affair with Cain.
Cain, who has denied the accusations, said Saturday that he had “made many mistakes in life. Everybody has. \u2026 And I take responsibility for the mistakes I’ve made, and I have been the very first to own up to any mistakes I’ve made.”
“I am at peace with my God,” he added. “I am at peace with my wife. And she is at peace with me.”
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