Cain struggles to keep Republican presidential campaign alive
Herman Cain worked to keep his Republican presidential campaign on track after fresh allegations of sexual indiscretions raised questions about whether he can sustain the backing to continue his bid.
Cain, who is denying an Atlanta woman’s claims to have carried on an extramarital affair with him during the last 13 years, said yesterday that he was reassessing his campaign as a result of the story, which came to light about a month after four women alleged he sexually harassed them in the 1990s — charges he has also denied.
The former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive told aides in a conference call that he would decide over the “next several days” whether to “plow ahead,” according to a transcript of a staff conference call posted online by the National Review, which said it was on the five-minute call.
One aide who participated said Cain began the call by denying the allegation of an affair, leveled Nov. 28 by Ginger White in an interview with the Atlanta television station Fox 5, and said it nonetheless called for a “reassessment” of his bid. Still, Cain indicated that the campaign would go forward, said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid publicly describing internal discussions.
In a fundraising letter Cain sent out yesterday, he referred to White as “a troubled Atlanta businesswoman” who “used national media outlets to promulgate a fabricated, unsubstantiated story” that they had an affair. “I am writing you today to assure you that this woman’s story is completely false,” he said.
“I am not deterred,” he told supporters. “We will continue on this journey to make America great once again.”
In an interview today on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” White described the relationship as “on and off” and said it began when she was single.
“It was a very casual affair,” she said. “Am I proud to admit to that? No, I am not.” She said she went on “several trips with him,” including to a Mike Tyson fight in Las Vegas.
White, who has acknowledged having financial difficulties, said that she had accepted gifts of money from Cain for “the last two and one-half years” and that he didn’t ask for anything in return.
“This was not sex for cash,” White.
In a speech at Hillsdale College in Michigan last night, Cain made no mention of the affair allegation as he pressed his case for a foreign policy based on “peace through strength and clarity.”
At the same time, he appeared to be bracing for the possibility he would have to make a quick exit from the race. The cable news network NY1 reported that he told an adviser to cancel a private dinner scheduled for Dec. 4 in New York with some of the city’s journalists and politicians, in case he dropped out. The dinner was to have been hosted by New York Post columnist Cindy Adams, the report said.
“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,” Cain told his staff on yesterday’s call, according to the transcript. “If a decision is made different than to plow ahead, you all will be the first to know.”