Herman Cain's campaign crumbling after affair allegation

Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:27pm GMT

By John Whitesides and Sam Youngman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential contender Herman Cain told aides on Tuesday he would reassess the viability of his struggling campaign after an Atlanta woman accused him of conducting a 13-year extramarital affair.

The allegations could be the end of the political line for Cain, who led the Republican White House race barely more than a month ago but has nosedived in polls after a series of sexual harassment charges and campaign missteps.

Cain denies he had an affair with businesswoman Ginger White, who told an Atlanta television station that her on-and-off relationship with Cain began in the mid-1990s.

The former pizza executive told aides in a conference call transcribed by the conservative magazine National Review that he would gauge the impact of the charges over the next few days and see if it created a cloud of doubt in supporters' minds.

"Obviously, this is cause for reassessment," Cain told staff members, adding he would continue his campaign schedule over the next few days.

"The public will have to decide whether they believe her or whether they believe me. That's why we're going to give it time, to see what type of response we get from our supporters," he said.

The affair allegation comes five weeks before Iowa kicks off the Republican battle for the right to challenge President Barack Obama, giving Cain little time to resurrect a once high-flying campaign.

In addition to the sexual harassment allegations by four women, Cain also has stumbled on the campaign trail. He raised alarm among conservatives with confusing comments about abortion and a badly fumbled question on policy towards Libya.   Continued...

U.S. Republican presidential candidate businessman Herman Cain takes the stage at the start of the CNN GOP National Security debate in Washington, November 22, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
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