Cain Train is coming to a painful halt
Due to a new claim of a 13-year affair, Herman Cain told several dozen staff members and advisors that he was “reassessing” whether he wanted to continue his quest for the Republican nomination:
In a morning conference call with his advisers, Mr. Cain said that he would make a decision in the coming days about whether to stay in the race after his campaign was rocked by another round of allegations about his sexual conduct.
The call, which was first reported by National Review, came as Mr. Cain was heading to Michigan for a campaign stop on Tuesday evening. He said that he was discussing the future of his campaign with his family and was considering his options.
“This is cause for reassessment,” Mr. Cain said, according to one participant on the call who spoke on condition of anonymity. “During the summer we had to make some reassessments based on our financial situation. We were able to hang in there.”
Mr. Cain denied the accusations from the Atlanta woman, Ginger White. But he acknowledged that the latest report of sexual misconduct might be more difficult to overcome, considering that the first voting is set to take place in five weeks at the Iowa caucuses. He said that he had not lost his enthusiasm to run, but suggested it was a distraction that could be difficult to recover from.
“With this latest one, we have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud in some peoples’ minds as to whether or not they should support us going forward,” Mr. Cain said, according to the participant on the call.
There is no doubt that these sort of accusations are taking a toll on Cain’s family. No spouse can sit back and listen to these sort of accusations, affairs or sexual harassment, and not become stressed out.
Neal Boortz, a sometimes libertarian talk show host who Cain has filled in for in the past, acknowledged that Cain may want to move on from the race and work on the more important task of mending his family:
I can’t say whether or not the allegations are true. I can say that they are damaging. I can say, in my opinion – which is worth no more than yours – it probably pretty much puts a fork in Herman Cain’s chances of winning the GOP nomination. True or not, it does that.
It may be rapidly approaching the time for Herman Cain to concentrate on his relationship with his family, and try to get through this thing.
Looking at the political ramifications, as Boortz noted, Erick Erickson says Cain has absolutely no shot at winning the nomination at this point since this will be what consumes coverage of his candidacy:
[Cain] was trying to get back on message after the Libya flub and the bad foreign policy debate. Republican voters apparently don’t like his 9-9-9 plan because of a national sales tax. His poll numbers are going down and now he can’t get back on message. It doesn’t matter if the allegation is true or not. It matters that he is down 15 points with women in Iowa. He’s got 38 days and he can’t get back on a message to try to get those voters back because he is going to be dealing with this. Whether it is true or not, it is kind of game over for Herman.
All you need to do is look at the polls and see that his chances of winning have declined substantially. And even without the past accusations of sexual harassment surfacing, the fact that Cain was so gaffe prone that Republican voters would have had to stop giving him mulligans. It seemed that Cain and his campaign really thought that the gimmicky 9-9-9 plan, which he has never been able to explain or even respond to valid with a coherent answer, would take him to the White House.
While I disagree with Cain on many things and would never have cast a vote for him for president, he has always come across as a good man. We all should have preferred to see his candidacy fall based on merits of policy and inexperience rather than the accusations that have surfaced.
Who benefits if Cain drops out? We’ll have more on that later.