It was the allegations of a DeKalb County woman that derailed presidential hopeful Herman Cain’s bid for the White House and it was in DeKalb County that he announced the suspension of his campaign.
“As false accusations about me continue, they have sidetracked and distracted my ability to present solutions to the American people,” Cain said to a crowd of hundreds of supporters who were in DeKalb for the opening of his Georgia campaign headquarters. “Because of these false and unproved accusations, it has had a tremendous painful price on my family.”
Dunwoody resident Ginger White recently alleged that she and Cain had a 13-year extramarital affair that lasted until just prior to the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO announcement of his candidacy for the White House several months ago.
White claimed that during the alleged affair, Cain bought her airplane tickets so she could join him in cities such as Palm Springs, Calif., and Atlanta. Cain has admitted to knowing White, but said she was a friend whom he has helped during her financial troubles.
Cain was a top candidate in the polls until accusations surfaced that he sexually harassed several women and groped one while he was a high-ranking official at the National Restaurant Association.
The allegations put a “cloud of doubt over me and this campaign and my family,” said the Republican candidate.
“It hurts my wife,” Cain said. “It hurts my family. It hurts me and it hurts the American people because you are being denied solutions to our problems.”
As Cain talked, the crowd shouted, “Herman, Herman, Herman.”
Admitting that he has made mistakes professionally, personally and as a candidate, Cain said he has been “the very first to own up to any mistakes.”
Cain, who was accompanied by his smiling and applauding wife, Gloria, said, “My wife, my family and I know that those false and unproved allegations are not true.”
“I am at peace with my God,” Cain said. “I am at peace with my wife and she is at peace with me. I am at peace with my family and I am at peace with myself.”
Two hours before Cain’s statement, supporters who had gathered, were unaware of the pending announcement. It was an upbeat atmosphere as supporters were still signing up to join the so-called “Cain Train.”
“I’m one of the original people that said ‘Run, Herman, yun’ years ago,” said Tucker resident Carol Strode before Cain’s announcement.
When asked about the effect of the allegations, Strode, who had a “Women for Cain” T-shirt, said, “It’s very personal between him and his wife and his family, and it’s so painful. I just think it’s sad.”
Strode said the allegations, do not “affect me as to whether I support his business plan and his ability to lead our country. I’m interested in talking about solutions and fixing our country and not personal stuff.”
Even speakers at the event did not seem to have prior knowledge that Cain was about to bow out.
“I have known Herman Cain for a lot of years,” said Dave McCleary, a state co-chairman of Cain’s campaign. “He’s truly a man of character and honor. He’s not a politician, he’s a problem solver.
“Are we going to sit back and let the left tell us it is over?” McCleary asked.
Rupert Parchment, who unsuccessfully ran for Georgia’s 13th Congressional District, said, “The media is not going to pick our candidate. Herman Cain is the people’s choice.”
State Senator Josh McCoon described Cain as “someone who has been willing to stand up and tell the truth, somebody who doesn’t speak in sound bites, [and] somebody who just wants to get the job done.”
“We’ve got serious problems facing this country,” McCoon said. “Herman Cain has the plan to get the economy moving again.”
Cain said he decided to seek the presidency because “the politicians in Washington, D.C., wouldn’t do their jobs.”
“They’ve failed to provide economic growth, they’ve failed to get spending under control, [and] they have failed to make us less dependent on foreign oil,” Cain said. “You were frustrated, I was frustrated and millions of other people were frustrated. It was out of that frustration that I made the decision to run.”
And it was because of his family that he decided to leave the race.
“As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul-searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” Cain told the crowd. “I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distractions, the continued hurt caused on me and my family–not because we are not fighters,[and] not because I am not a fighter.
“When I went through this reassessment of the impact on my family first, the impact on you my supporters…as well as the impact on the ability to raise the necessary funds to be competitive, we had to come to this conclusion,” Cain said.
Cain, promising not to be silenced by “pundits [who] would like for me to shut up, drop out and go away,” said that he would officially endorse another presidential candidate and would support “the biggest change and transfer of power out Washington, D.C., back to the people since this nation began.”
Cain said he would continue to be “a voice for the people” via a political activist group called The Cain Solutions. The group’s website was still under construction at press time.
Cain supporter Angela Yorrick said she was not very surprised by the candidate’s announcement.
“I kind of expected it because he’s an honest person,” Yorrick said. “I want him to do what’s best for him and for his family. I think he made a wise decision. I don’t like it but it’s a good decision. I’m kind of sorry though.”