Cain Reassess His Presidential Campaign

Nov 29, 2011
Originally published on November 29, 2011 5:38 pm
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Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain told top-level staff today that he is reassessing his campaign's finances and future. This comes a day after yet another damaging revelation. This time, a woman claims she was involved in a 13-year, extramarital affair with Cain.

NPR's Tamara Keith reports.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: For the record, Cain continues to say, as he did on CNN last night, there was no affair.

HERMAN CAIN: Friend, and trying to help a friend because not having a job, etc., and this sort of thing. That's all there is to the relationship.

KEITH: But the damage is real. Cain spoke to a senior staff on a conference call this morning, and told them that claims are taking a toll on both his family and his campaign. Cain said over the next several days, he would be reassessing.

Steve Grubbs is chairman of Cain's operation in Iowa, and he was on the call.

STEVE GRUBBS: While reassessing where we are financially in the campaign, 'cause it certainly raises some challenges, I took the message to be that we're still moving ahead.

KEITH: Grubbs is trying to rally Iowa supporters, and says while this is tough for fundraising, other candidates in the past have survived similar situations.

Jack Pitney, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, says it isn't just the allegations about his personal life that are a problem for Cain. It's also his stumbling answers about foreign policy, including the dramatic brain freeze on Libya.

JACK PITNEY: Put those two things together, and you have a candidacy on the critical list.

KEITH: And by admitting that his campaign may be in trouble, Pitney says Cain isn't helping his case with potential donors.

PITNEY: Very few people are going to write checks. A check is something of an investment, and this would be an investment in a company that is putting up the Going Out of Business signs.

KEITH: Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon, in an email, tried to downplay the reassessment, saying the candidate and his staff are looking at where they stand, and the road ahead - similar to other times in the campaign. And, he added, Cain is looking forward to getting back on message.

Tamara Keith, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.