Businessman and US presidential hopeful Herman Cain sent mixed signals on whether he would abandon his beleaguered White House bid yesterday in the wake of a woman’s allegation of an extramarital affair.
Cain said on Friday he would make a “major announcement” on whether he would press on. It is the latest — and perhaps final — twist in a campaign saga that has taken the Georgia businessman from unknown longshot to surprise frontrunner to embattled tabloid subject.
A political novice, Cain had leveraged strong anti-tax “Tea Party” support to hurtle to the front of the pack in October, casting himself as an anti-establishment outsider. His catchy “nine-nine-nine” tax overhaul proposal helped his rise, but his effort soon lost altitude.
Cain arrived at his suburban Atlanta home on Friday afternoon to talk with his wife of 42 years, Gloria, about whether to continue on after his campaign was rocked by multiple sexual harassment allegations and this week’s claim that he had a 13-year affair. He denies wrongdoing. It was their first face-to-face meeting since the allegation was made public.
Earlier, in a speech in South Carolina, Cain would not disclose whether he would drop out, but told supporters to stay tuned. He said he would clarify the next steps of the campaign and assured backers the affair claim was “garbage.” However, he also said he needed to consider what he would do with campaign donations already banked if he dropped out of the race.
“My wife and family comes first. I’ve got to take that into consideration,” Cain said.
Cain had not seen his wife since Ginger White, 46, came forward and said she had a sexual affair with Cain that lasted more than a decade. He has said they were only friends, but acknowledged that he helped pay her monthly bills and expenses.
His wife, Cain said, did not know of the friendship with White.