Ginger White

ATLANTA — Herman Cain is still campaigning for president. But by most measures, his White House bid is all but over.
His standing in polls is cratering. Supporters are wavering if not fleeing. Fundraising is suffering.

And, these days, the former pizza company executive is less a serious candidate than the butt of late-night comedy jokes after a string of accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior and, now, an allegation of a 13-year-long
extramarital affair.

“His chance at winning the presidency are effectively zero,” said Dave Welch, a Republican strategist who worked on both of John McCain’s presidential bids.

And Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway said: “It’s the daily dose of the wince-and-cringe factor that leaves people wondering what could be coming next,”

As it has since Ginger White stepped forward Monday, the allegation of an affair overshadowed Cain’s campaign for another day Thursday, when he told the New Hampshire Union Leader that his wife, Gloria, did not know he was providing the 46-year-old Atlanta-area businesswoman with money for “month-to-month bills
and expenses.”

And, Cain said, his wife also didn’t know of what he called a friendship with White until she said publicly that she had a casual 13-year affair with Cain that ended about eight months ago.

It is the latest chapter in a saga that has played out in recent weeks as his campaign has been rocked first with allegations of sexual harassment and, now, White’s
affair claim.

Over the past month, Cain has watched his standing in polls sink. He acknowledged his fundraising took a hit after White came forward, and political experts predict that his ability to take in campaign cash will evaporate now that he is re-evaluating whether to remain in the race. If he decides to continue running, Cain would face another big hurdle: the loss of grassroots support, which has provided the core of his base for his anti-establishment campaign.

Atlanta Tea Party Patriots co-founder Debbie Dooley typifies the falloff of support. She had been vigorously defending Cain as the sexual harassment allegations trickled out. But White’s accusation proved too much.

“I don’t know what to believe,” Dooley said. “I just think he needs to get out now and focus on
his family.”

Charlie Gruchow, one of Cain’s earliest and most devout supporters in Iowa, has said he has moved his support to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, because he doesn’t think Cain can survive politically.

“I still don’t believe all the allegations,” he said. “But it’s really damaged him.”

Even Cain’s supporters acknowledge his odds have grown even steeper with a cloud planted over his campaign and just weeks before voting gets under way in Iowa.

“I’m still backing him, but I definitely think it’s a bigger and bigger mountain to climb,” Florida state Rep. Carlos Trujillo said Tuesday, the day after White emerged. “It’s going to be difficult to make up that ground in so short an amount of time.” 

ATLANTA — Herman Cain is still campaigning for president. But by most measures, his White House bid is all but over.

His standing in polls is cratering. Supporters are wavering if not fleeing. Fundraising is suffering.

And, these days, the former pizza company executive is less a serious candidate than the butt of late-night comedy jokes after a string of accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior and, now, an allegation of a 13-year-long extramarital affair.

“His chance at winning the presidency are effectively zero,” said Dave Welch, a Republican strategist who worked on both of John McCain’s presidential bids.

And Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway said: “It’s the daily dose of the wince-and-cringe factor that leaves people wondering what could be coming next,”

As it has since Ginger White stepped forward Monday, the allegation of an affair overshadowed Cain’s campaign for another day Thursday, when he told the New Hampshire Union Leader that his wife, Gloria, did not know he was providing the 46-year-old Atlanta-area businesswoman with money for “month-to-month bills and expenses.”

And, Cain said, his wife also didn’t know of what he called a friendship with White until she said publicly that she had a casual 13-year affair with Cain that ended about eight months ago.

It is the latest chapter in a saga that has played out in recent weeks as his campaign has been rocked first with allegations of sexual harassment and, now, White’s affair claim.

Over the past month, Cain has watched his standing in polls sink. He acknowledged his fundraising took a hit after White came forward, and political experts predict that his ability to take in campaign cash will evaporate now that he is re-evaluating whether to remain in the race.

If he decides to continue running, Cain would face another big hurdle: the loss of grassroots support, which has provided the core of his base for his anti-establishment campaign.

Atlanta Tea Party Patriots co-founder Debbie Dooley typifies the falloff of support. She had been vigorously defending Cain as the sexual harassment allegations trickled out. But White’s accusation proved too much.

“I don’t know what to believe,” Dooley said. “I just think he needs to get out now and focus on
his family.”

Charlie Gruchow, one of Cain’s earliest and most devout supporters in Iowa, has said he has moved his support to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, because he doesn’t think Cain can
survive politically.

“I still don’t believe all the allegations,” he said. “But it’s really damaged him.”

Even Cain’s supporters acknowledge his odds have grown even steeper with a cloud planted over his campaign and just weeks before voting gets under way in Iowa.

“I’m still backing him, but I definitely think it’s a bigger and bigger mountain to climb,” Florida state Rep. Carlos Trujillo said Tuesday, the day after White emerged. “It’s going to be difficult to make up that ground in so short an amount of time.”

ATLANTA — 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.

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, Ginger White, 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. 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.”

White’s accusation of an affair prompted New Hampshire state Rep. William Panek, who endorsed Cain at a news conference earlier this year, to pull his endorsement. Panek said he rethought his position when White showed evidence that she traded 61 text messages and cell phone calls with the candidate.

“I felt like we were being lied to,” Panek said. “I’m putting my name in New Hampshire as a state rep behind him and I just didn’t like the way it was being played out.”

In Iowa, Cain’s campaign has lost some precinct-level supporters in light of the new allegations, Steve Grubbs, Cain’s Iowa chairman, said during an interview with CNN.

“If people make contributions, then we’ll keep the campaign doors open and be able to keep paying people,” Grubbs said. “Otherwise, Herman Cain will have to make a decision whether he can afford to keep moving forward.”

Printed on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 as: Accusations force Cain to reassess run