(Photo: Reuters/John Sommers II)
Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain suggested that his political opponents are trying to derail his campaign by attacking his character and integrity and that he has no plans to end his pursuit for the White House.
“They have been trying to do a character assassination on me,” Cain complained to a crowd of onlookers in West Chester, Ohio, on Wednesday. “They are attacking my character, my reputation and my name in order to try and bring me down. I don’t believe American is going to let that happen to me.”
Cain also repeatedly told the Ohio crowd, “I want to be president,” and encouraged those gathered to “raise some Cain!”
The latest trouble for Cain came on Monday when Atlanta resident Ginger White say she and Cain had a 13-year, “on and off” relationship and that it ended in March of this year.
Cain categorically denied the relationship, saying his relationship with White was “very casual.” However, no one in Cain’s family or close circle of friends, including his wife, knew White.
The first revelations of sexual harassment surfaced after an online Washington news publication broke the story that two women had accused Cain of harassment and subsequently reached an undisclosed settlement with the National Restaurant Association, which Cain headed in the late 1990s. Another woman, Sharon Bialek, came forward saying that Cain had inappropriately touched her and made suggestive comments after a dinner one evening.
After White came forward with her comments, Cain’s campaign said they were “reassessing” their campaign, but senior campaign advisers stressed that Cain was not dropping out of the race.
In order to clear up any confusion regarding his plans, Cain tweeted, “The definition of reassess is: To consider again, esp. while paying attention to new factors. Doesn’t sound like dropping out…”
White is still standing by her story, despite Cain’s denials. After Cain referred to her as a “troubled” woman, White responded, telling Good Morning America on Wednesday that it is “very disappointing that he would call me troubled.”
Also, White pointed out that the relationship was not a matter of “sex for cash.”
Still, political insiders are wondering if Cain can continue to mount a viable campaign in the face of dropping poll numbers and having to deal with issues that are detracting from the message of jobs, the economy and pro-family values.
“The bottom line is conservatives want someone other than Mitt Romney and are looking for the right candidate,” said Louisiana GOP consultant Mike Bayham. “I don’t think many people felt Herman had a chance. He just wants to sell some books and make sure he has a good platform after he has to drop out. And he certainly won’t be considered for a vice presidential spot.”
Trying to say focused, Cain reminded the Ohio crowd about his 9-9-9 plan and that his lack of foreign policy experience was no different from former president Ronald Reagan’s. He also took the opportunity to invoke religion into his comments.
“I have discovered there’s your plan in life and there’s God’s plan.”
Making light of the situation, Cain joked about with crowd and how his opponents were saying his support was steadily eroding.
“Some even predicted that this room would be empty today. I don’t think I see any empty seats in here.”
Cain will travel to New Hampshire later today to meet with supporters and undoubtedly face a curious press corp.