Herman Cain suspends presidential campaign

 

Former pizza magnate Herman Cain dropped out of the US presidential
race today after accusations of sexual misconduct overwhelmed his
bid to win the Republican nomination as an anti-Washington tax
reformer.

Cain's departure set off a competition among other candidates to win over his conservative supporters with voting to start next month in the race to determine the Republicans' presidential pick for 2012 to oppose President Barack Obama.

Cain, a former Godfather's Pizza chief executive, told followers in his hometown of Atlanta that "false and unproved" sexual accusations had forced him to suspend his White House bid.

He said he would endorse another candidate, effectively ending a roller-coaster campaign that saw the African-American businessman go from complete outsider to the rising star of Republican conservatives within a few weeks over the autumn.

Cain held a Friday night meeting with his wife, Gloria, who has stayed mostly silent as several women accused her husband of sexual harassment and an Atlanta businesswoman this week said she had carried out a 13-year affair with him.

Gloria Cain appeared at his side on Saturday and smiled throughout.

Cain's departure shapes the wide-open Republican race more clearly into a matchup between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and surging rival Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Reuters/Ipsos poll data released this week showed Gingrich and Romney would benefit most if Cain quit.

Support for Romney and Gingrich would rise by 3 percentage points each, against the 1- or 2-point bumps Cain's departure would give some of their rivals for the nomination.

Gingrich, a fellow Georgian, said he would meet with Cain next week.

"I don't anticipate anything," CNN reported Gingrich as saying. Cain has to "make up his own mind," Gingrich said.

Romney said in New Hampshire he sought backing from Cain supporters. "I hope as they evaluate the various candidates, they conclude that I'm the leader they need," he said.

Suspending his campaign instead of quitting altogether lets Cain continue raising money that he could use to pay off any debt he had run up.

Cloud of doubt

Cain, 65, said a "cloud of doubt" had settled over his campaign. He insisted that accusations he sexually harassed several women and had an affair with Atlanta businesswoman Ginger White were simply not true.

"I am suspending my campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt," Cain said at an event that had been planned as the grand opening of his campaign headquarters in Atlanta.

Cain won attention for his 9-9-9 plan to reduce the US tax code to 9 percent on income, sales and corporate taxes.

After jumping into the front-runner position two months ago, Cain had been in a free fall in the past month. His support in Iowa, which holds the first U.S. nominating contest on Jan. 3, stands at 8 percent.

Cain spoke of having made mistakes but did not elaborate. His campaign also suffered from several stumbles that included a long pause when he tried to answer a routine question about Libya.

"I've made mistakes professionally, personally, as a candidate, in terms of how I run my campaign. And I take responsibility for the mistakes that I've made. And I've been the very first to own up to any mistakes I've made," Cain said.

Supporter Kristen Keating, 35 of Decatur, Georgia, wept after Cain's announcement.

"I believe in his plan and his vision for leadership and his solutions for very serious issues that are way beyond his own private life," she said. "His plan was so clear. I understand it. "

She has not decided what candidate to support for president now.

In Iowa, the Cain campaign's state chairman, Steve Grubbs, told Radio Iowa he was not surprised by Cain's decision.

"My counsel would have been to stay the course and see it through, but obviously he thought a different way and I'll be at peace with that," he said.

What do you do with 3,000 yard signs? Grubbs said. "You recycle."

 

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all