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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / Campaign 2012

Cain Train Still Chugging

Embattled presidential contender pleads for supporters to 'stand with me.'

Herman Cain(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

photo of Lindsey Boerma
November 29, 2011

HILLSDALE, MICH-- Don’t count Herman Cain out of the GOP presidential race just yet.

After Cain set off speculation he was about to withdraw with a Tuesday morning conference call in which he said he was “reassessing” his candidacy following one woman’s allegation that she and Cain carried on a 13-year affair, signs later in the day seemed to indicate that the ebullient Georgia businessman isn’t ready to call it quits.

Just before unveiling his foreign policy plan to a crowd of about 500 at Hillsdale College in Michigan, Cain’s Twitter account read: “The definition of reassess is: To consider again, esp. while paying attention to new factors. Doesn't sound like dropping out...”

 

Campaign advisers sought to relay a similar sentiment to National Journal and CBS News, portraying the “reassessment” as just another transition in the rollercoaster campaign. “We are reassessing our strategy,” a staffer said, “as we did when the first false allegations came out, and as we did when we won the straw poll.”

In the past month Cain has had to fend off backlash over sexual harassment allegations he faced during his time as head of the National Restaurant Association. On Monday, he came forward on CNN to preemptively deny longtime friend Ginger White’s claim that she had an affair with him. Cain acknowledged the pain the allegations have caused his wife Gloria and his family.

But in an e-mail to supporters, sent Tuesday night around the same time as the Tweet, Cain called White a “troubled” woman and her claim “a fabricated, unsubstantiated story.” He assured that he is “not deterred” and “will continue on this journey to make America great once again.”

“While recent events have taken a toll on me,” Cain continued, “the people in the audience this evening will not know it. I will deliver my message with vigor and enthusiasm.”

Indeed, Cain in his speech made no direct reference to the allegations or his campaign’s status; he instead reiterated his “peace through strength and clarity” foreign policy message. He did, though, begin his speech: “Life can be a challenge.”

One notable moment, because it was arguably anti-feminist at a time when Cain can’t afford to be so, came when Cain described his Sunday at-home ritual.

“I was sitting in my favorite chair in front of the TV next to the kitchen, she was in the kitchen preparing dinner,” he said, referring to his wife,  to uncomfortable chuckles in the audience. “What? That’s what we do at our house on Sunday; I sit in the EZ chair, and she prepares dinner! And there are days when I prepare the dinner, OK?”

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