Politics

Cain Plans "Assessment" of Campaign

In the wake of another woman's allegation of inappropriate behavior, Herman Cain told key campaign officials and volunteers that he will be conducting an "assessment" of the state of his presidential candidacy.

Cain made the comments during a closed conference call Tuesday morning.

This comes less than 24 hours since Cain and senior aides insisted that he will not drop out of the race. It is unclear what the "assessment" will look in to, when it will begin, or how it will be conducted.

The assessment is clearly a reaction to comments, released Monday, by a woman who claimed she had a 13-year extramarital affair with Cain.

Ginger White made the claims in an interview with the Fox News affiliate in Atlanta.

"It was pretty simple," White told WAGA. "It wasn't complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware that I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship."

In response to the news, Cain Iowa campaign chief Steve Grubbs issued an email to supporters Tuesday saying that during a conference call earlier in the day, Cain repeated that he had tried to help White "with her problems and tried to get her on her feet financially." He also said he was "moving ahead with the campaign" despite the emotional toll it was taking on his family.

Grubbs added that the campaign's assessment is no different than ones made after the Iowa Straw poll and the Florida straw polls.

In an attempt to reassure backers, Grubbs said that 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain and former President Bill Clinton both weathered similar accusations.

Grubbs said that The New York Times also learned that White is an unemployed single mother who had previously filed a sexual harassment claim against an employer in 2001 that was settled out of court, had filed for bankruptcy and faced multiple eviction threats. 

"I believe in Herman Cain and his ideas. We need to get back on message and make it to the Iowa caucuses.  My request is that you don't let anyone pick your candidate based on these allegations.  We have a strong Iowa ground game and we are looking forward to making it to January 3rd with a strong team intact," he wrote. 

White told the network that she and Cain met in the late 1990s when Cain, as president of the National Restaurant Association, was making a presentation in Louisville, Ky. He later would fly her to cities where he was speaking and give her gifts, she told the TV station.

"He made it very intriguing. It was fun," White said. "It was something that took me away from my sort of humdrum life at the time, and it was exciting."

Cain never harassed her or treated her poorly, and their physical relationship ended eight months ago, just before Cain announced his candidacy for president, White said. She provided some text messages and phone bills as documentation of her contact with Cain, including as recently as September.

Cain's attorney, Lin Wood, issued a statement after the news broke that said the allegations are of "private, alleged consensual conduct between adults" and are "not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public."

The new allegations are only the latest setback for Cain, who has seen his popularity fade since reports surfaced one month ago of sexual harassment allegations dating back to his tenure with the National Restaurant Association.

Although the latest report involves an alleged consensual relationship, the claims may further weaken his support among conservative Republicans concerned about social issues, including the institution of marriage.