Scandal-scarred Herman Cain held a conference call with his staff early Tuesday to say he is “reassessing” his campaign.
Cain assured his supporters that the next few days would proceed as scheduled – but then seemingly hedged his bets about whether he would stay in the race for the White House.
“But if a decision is made, different than to plow ahead, you all will be the first to know,” Cain told his staff, according to a transcript of the call published by The National Review.
Cain again denied an Atlanta woman’s claim that she had a 13-year affair with the married businessman, but acknowledged that the allegation was politically damaging.
“We have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud, in some people’s minds, as to whether or not they would be able to support us going forth,” Cain told his staff.
Ginger White stepped forward Monday to allege that she had a longtime affair with Cain, who has been married for 43 years.
His slip-ups have helped Newt Gingrich sprint to the front of the GOP field.
Several political strategists say Cain’s departure from the Republican presidential race is all but assured following the fresh allegations.
“I’m not sure he lasts until Iowa to be honest,” said Democratic political strategist Peter Fenn, who thought Cain’s exit would be measured in “days, not weeks.”
But if Cain drops out or not, his implosion continues to benefit Gingrich more than any other GOP contender, politicos believe.
Other GOP challengers have jockeyed for the support of conservatives who have not embraced frontrunner Mitt Romney - but politicos believe contenders like Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann have already been too badly pummeled to net many of Cain’s supporters.
“I would put the money on Gingrich,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist and former presidential campaign adviser. “[Cain and Gingrich] are being backed by the same anti-Romney sentiment.”
O’Connell noted the situation was ironic, as Gingrich has had several extramarital affairs in the past – including one during the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton.