Plagued by allegations of sexual harassment and marriage infidelity, businessman Herman Cain announced Saturday that he is officially suspending his campaign for president of the United States.
"As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign," Cain said at what was supposed to be new campaign headquarters in his hometown of Atlanta. "I am disappointed that it came to this point that we had to make this decision."
But he added, "Before you get discouraged, today I want to describe Plan B. . . . I am not going away. I will continue to be a voice for the people." With that, he unveiled the headquarters of his new website, TheCainSolutions.com.
Standing with his wife Gloria by his side, Cain vowed that he would make an endorsement before the primaries were over and said that he "will not be silenced."
Cain, one of the first Republican candidates to launch his campaign for the White House last spring, spent most of his run as an obscure, low-polling candidate that was a hit at tea party rallies. But as the Republican field took shape, and it became clear that high-profile party hopefuls like Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would not enter the race, Republicans seemed willing to give any of the candidates a fair shake.
Cain's big break came in Florida in September during a presidential debate that preceded a major straw poll of party insiders in the state. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was the front runner at that time, but after he flubbed the debate and told a crowd of Republicans that they didn't "have a heart" if they disagreed with him on immigration policy, Cain's clearly-articulated conservative message earned him a fresh look and victory at the straw poll.
Over the next few weeks, Cain would rise to the top of national and state public opinion polls. He published a book, This is Herman Cain! My Road to the White House, was placed center-stage at the upcoming debates and his economic policy proposal, the very marketable "999 Plan," became the focus of national discussion.
Of course, with national prominence came heightened scrutiny from his opponents and the media and, for a while, Cain coasted through without most of the new attacks sticking to him. That is, until Politico published a report alleging that several anonymous women had accused him of sexual harassment while he was president of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
For the most part, Republicans came to his defense. Cain's campaign raised millions of dollars sent to him from supporters who felt he was the victim of unfair and unsubstantiated attacks.
But over the next several weeks, the number of allegations increased. Women began to come forward publicly, with details of the accusations. Slowly, Cain's base of support began to fade, as conservatives still not content with supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney looked for a new candidate to back.
The final death warrant for Cain's hopes for a campaign that stretched into 2012 came when Ginger White, a longtime friend of Cain's, came forward to say that she had sustained a sexual relationship with Cain for several years. She provided cell phone records to prove that they had, in fact, known each other over the years.
Unlike the prior allegations, the response from Cain's lawyer did not issue a denial, but rather a defense that said that the media should not inquire about his "private sexual life."
Cain responded, saying that he was reassessing his campaign.
On Saturday, Cain concluded his announcement that his run was over by reciting a poem:
"Life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it's never easy when there's so much on the line."
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