Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, buffeted by allegations of sexual misconduct, is "reassessing" whether to stay in the race, a senior campaign adviser told National Journal on Tuesday.
"We are reassessing our strategy," the staffer said, "as we did when the first false allegations came out, and as we did when we won the straw poll."
In a conference call with senior staff and some media outlets on Tuesday morning, Cain said that he would make a decision about whether to stay in the race "over the next several days." On Monday evening, the Fox television station in Atlanta aired an interview with Ginger White, an Atlanta woman who said she had a 13-year extramarital affair with Cain.
Her story, which she said she offered reluctantly after her name started circulating among local media, came on top of several earlier allegations of sexual harassment by women who worked for Cain when he headed the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
In an interview on Monday on CNN, Cain denied the affair and said he didn't plan to drop out unless the accusations began to affect his family. "I'm not dropping out of this race, no. As long as my wife is behind me, and as long as my wife believes I should stay in this race, I'm staying in this race," he said.
By the following morning, Cain, who has been dropping in the polls in the wake of the burgeoning scandal, apparently had weakened in his resolve to continue.
During the six-minute call, Cain told his national campaign staff that he needs to decide whether an accusation of a 13-year affair would create “too much of a cloud” for his supporters.
“If a decision is made, different than (we) should plow ahead, you all will be the first to know,” the former Godfather's Pizza executive said to 94 people on a conference call, according to a story on the The Des Moines Register website.
“Now 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 should support us going forward,” Cain said.
Cain’s campaign aides invited news organizations to join the conference call to listen to Cain’s comments about “the recent firestorm,” as he called it.