By Ray Henry, Associated PressBy Jon Keller

ATLANTA (AP) — Herman Cain told aides Tuesday he is assessing whether the latest allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior against him “create too much of a cloud” for his Republican presidential candidacy to go forward.

Acknowledging the “firestorm” arising from an accusation of infidelity, Cain only committed to keeping his campaign schedule for the next several days, in a conference call with his senior staff.

“If a decision is made, different than to plow ahead, you all will be the first to know,” he said, according to a transcript of the call made by the National Review, which listened to the conversation.

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It was the first time doubts about Cain’s continued candidacy had surfaced from the candidate himself. As recently as Tuesday morning, a campaign spokesman had stated unequivocally that Cain would not quit.

Cain denied anew that he had an extramarital affair with a Georgia woman who went public a day earlier with allegations they had been intimate for 13 years.

“It was just a friendship relationship,” he said on the call, according to the transcript. “That being said, obviously, this is a cause for reassessment.”

He went on: “With this latest one, we have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud, in some people’s minds, as to whether or not they would be able to support us going forth.”

Saying the episode had taken an emotional toll on him and his family, Cain told the aides that people will have to decide whether they believe him or the accuser. “That’s why we’re going to give it time, to see what type of response we get from our supporters.”

Cain has denied the affair as well as several other accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior that have dogged his candidacy over the past month. He had been publicly resolute about pressing ahead even as his standing in public opinion polls and his fundraising started to slide.

But in the conference call, he pledged only to keep his imminent schedule, including a foreign policy speech at Hillsdale College in Michigan later Tuesday that he promised to deliver with “vim, vigor and enthusiasm.”

One participant on the call, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the conversation, described the tone as positive but also noted the uncertainty coming from Cain.

After the conference call, Cain attorney Linn Wood told AP: “Any report that Mr. Cain has decided to withdraw his candidacy is inaccurate.”

“I think they are assessing the situation, just as I would expect the campaign to do or any prudent business person to do,” said Wood. He added that he would hate to see what he described as false accusations drive Cain out of the race for the presidency.

On Monday, Ginger White said in an interview with Fox 5 Atlanta that her affair with Cain ended not long before the former businessman from Georgia announced his candidacy for the White House.

“It was fun,” said White, 46, as she described Cain buying her plane tickets for a rendezvous in Palm Springs, Calif. “It was something that took me away from my sort of humdrum life at the time. And it was exciting.”

Cain went on television to flatly deny White’s claims even before the report aired.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said then. On Tuesday, he told his staff “I deny those charges, unequivocally,” and went on to say he had only helped White financially “because she was out of work and destitute, desperate.”

Seemingly out of step with Cain’s denials, his lawyer issued a statement Monday that included no such denial of the affair and suggested that the media — and the public — had no business snooping into the details of consensual conduct between adults.

Cain’s response was faster and more deliberate than he had managed when it was reported that three women alleged he had sexually harassed or groped them when he was the president of the National Restaurant Association in the mid- to late 1990s. The trade group paid settlements to two women who had worked there.

As some conservative Republicans sought an alternative to Mitt Romney, Cain surged in the polls while pushing his 9-9-9 tax plan and providing tough criticism of President Barack Obama during televised debates.

But as the harassment allegations surfaced, Cain stumbled in explaining his views about U.S. policy toward Libya and other foreign policy issues, creating an opening for rival Newt Gingrich to assert himself as a more reliable, seasoned politician to challenge Romney and even Obama. Cain fell in the polls and Gingrich began to rise.

In her TV interview, White said she decided to come forward after seeing Cain attack his other accusers in an appearance on television.

“It bothered me that they were being demonized, sort of, and being treated as if they were automatically lying, and the burden of proof was on them,” she said. “I felt bad for them.”

She said she first met Cain in the late 1990s in Louisville, Ky., when he was president of the National Restaurant Association. They had drinks and he invited her to his hotel room, she recalled.

She quoted Cain as telling her, “You’re beautiful to me and I would love for us to continue this friendship,” then produced his personal calendar and invited her to meet him in Palm Springs.

White has been accused of lying before. A former business partner, Kimberly Vay, filed a libel suit as part of a larger business dispute with White. Court records show a state judge ruled in favor of Vay because White failed to respond to the suit. Vay’s attorney, Kurt Martin, said a jury must still decide whether to award damages.

White’s attorney, Edward Buckley, acknowledged the libel suit. He said White thought the libel claim had been settled as part of a larger settlement.


Associated Press writers Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, Steve Peoples in Amherst, N.H., Greg Bluestein in Dunwoody, Ga., and researcher Barbara Sambriski in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Jon Keller

Comments (11)
  1. Tsal says:

    Even without the harassment accusations and alleged affair he’d be doing the country a favor to step down. Of course that leaves one candidate who thinks the voting age in America is 21, another who thinks the battle of concord was fought in NH, another who took millions from freddie and Fannie and thinks child labor laws are foolish.

    In the immortal words of Mikey. We are doomed. Mikey where are you anyway?

    1. gramps says:

      Herman was ‘toast’ B/4 his hat hit the ground….

      How soon we forget:

      F. Roosevelt, died in the arms of his long time lover.

      D. Eisenhower, had a long affair with his driver in Europe

      J.F.K. & RFK, & MM, Boys will be Boys….

      L.Johnson, a well known womanizer….Even swam in the ‘buff’ in the White House Pool, had impromptu staff meetings while he was in the pool, au’ natural!

      J. Carter “Had lust in his heart” ,occasionally.

      B. Clinton,

      That’s 6 south paws & 2 from the right side….


      No Lady was ‘Wild about Harry’……..If Truman ever tried to fool around, his ‘mother-in-law’ would’ve kicked his ‘ash’! He was very much afraid of her!

    2. gramps says:

      Forgot one,

      Honest Abe Lincoln…..Slept with men?

      Barney! Say it ain’t so!


      Now my math is correct, 6 D’s & 2 R’s

      1. gramps says:

        Let ‘Ye’ who are without sin, cast the 1ST ‘Condom’!


  2. mikey says:

    Cain has more baggage than a carousel at Logan – he’s toast.

    Yo Tsal! I’m working out of state – so much for the golden years. Take care.

    1. Tsal says:

      Well come back in state or you could explain you are missed here so need some blog time each day. Golden years you say. Well all be working till we drop

  3. Tsal says:

    What should be repeated are the words “even without an alleged affair”. In all honesty an affair is personal and has no reflection IMHO on a persons ability to do his job. Harassment is another story entirely. Cains views on the issues and his catastrophic 999 plan are the problem. The fact that he has to actually take time to think about whether to remove himself from the race is laughable as well as an indication that he lives in his own little world. And what is also laughable is the inability of too many to move from trying to prove one party is superior when there is no hope with any of the choices we have

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is a ‘Taylor-made’ lynching. I always knew the left wing was full of racists. This is proof.

  5. massman says:

    Palin – Trump – Bachmann – Perry – Cain – Newt. All Republican nomination poll leaders at one point. I know there are many Republicans who want to see anyone but Mitt get the nomination, but why support these candidates who truly have almost no chance of becoming President? I am talking about this universal support that is being transferred from candidate to candidate. There are sensible, intelligent Republicans out there. They’ve just been forced to conform to the right wing base, or have become silent. Why not support someone who will give independents a viable option? I could care less if Herman Cain had an affair. He is an ignorant man. He would lose badly to President Obama. So if Republicans truly don’t want Mitt “corporations are people” Romney to be there nominee, then somebody better step forward. And no, Newt is not going to be that man.As Barney Frank put it ” “The Republican party today in the House … it consists half of people who think like Michele Bachmann and half afraid of people who are afraid of losing a primary to someone who thinks like Michele Bachmann,”

  6. Denise says:

    I don’t know why anyone would want to run for any office! if you’ve done anything slightly “wrong” in anyones eyes it will be brought to the media for everyone to know and judge you about. I don’t believe that anyones infidelity is our business unless its our spouse! And then there will be hell to pay!

    Either this guy lives in a bubble and didn’t realize good bad or indifferent someone was going to want their 15 minutes of fame on his coat tails if this is true… or someone has a lot of $$ to get these women to say this happened and trash their own reputation along the way because he’s an actual threat to someone???

    if we’re giving criminals 3 strikes – what are we giving people that would consider running for some office? No chance – if they stole a candybar from little sally when they were 10, or played Dr when they were 13, made some bad personal decisions in their 20’s or 30’s… I’m sure there aren’t many of us that deserve sainthood. And with the kids in this generation and their “friends with benefits” attitude – I don’t know why this would be an issue to them at all?? Lets get out of this guys bedroom and back onto the issues!! Let his wife take care of the bedroom issues!

    it’s funny how anyone can accuse anyone of anything – why people just don’t take a lie detector test and prove them wrong… or admit to it – it would take all the wind out of the sails… no drama!

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