From The New York Times:
An unapologetic and defiant Herman Cain suspended his presidential campaign on Saturday, pledging that he “would not go away” even as he abandoned the Republican presidential race in the face of escalating accusations of sexual misconduct.
“As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” Mr. Cain said at a rally in Atlanta, surrounded by supporters chanting his name. “Because of the continued distractions, the continued hurt caused on me and my family, not because we are not fighters. Not because I’m not a fighter.”
In suspending his candidacy, as opposed to saying that he was ending his bid, Mr. Cain, according to campaign finance lawyers, maintains an ability to accept money to pay for his campaign so far and potentially to finance the new venture that he called his Plan B: to travel the country promoting his tax and foreign policy plans.
Mr. Cain’s decision to suspend his campaign came as a new Des Moines Register poll showed that his supporters appeared to be gravitating toward Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker. According to the poll, Mr. Gingrich is backed by 25 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers, followed by Representative Ron Paul of Texas with 18 percent and Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts with 16 percent. The poll was conducted before Mr. Cain suspended his campaign, and it showed him with the support of just 8 percent of respondents, a sharp drop from previous polls.
The other Republican candidates are also in single digits.
Mr. Cain said he would issue an endorsement soon. Mr. Cain, with his wife, Gloria, at his side at the Atlanta rally, said the accusations of sexual harassment and of a 13-year affair were untrue. “I’m at peace with my God,” he said. “I’m at peace with my wife, and she is at peace with me.”
Mr. Cain exited much the way he entered. The circuslike atmosphere — complete with numerous delays, barbecue, a blues band and supporters in colonial-era dress — was in keeping with the campaign’s irreverence and disarray since its inception.
Mr. Cain’s critics have long posited that he has been more interested in creating celebrity for himself — as a means to sell books and increase speaking fees — than in making a serious bid for the presidency.
Indeed, in his remarks on Saturday, Mr. Cain boasted about rising from near obscurity, saying, “Right now, my name I.D. is probably 99.9,” a reference to his 9-9-9 plan, which mixes a flat tax with a national sales tax.
Still, Mr. Cain, whose standing among likely Republican caucusgoers in Iowa in the latest poll by The Des Moines Register had drifted down to 8 percent, took what may be his last moment in the national spotlight to denounce the political culture in Washington. On Saturday, Mr. Cain called politics “a dirty game.”
[A]ccusations of sexual misconduct were not Mr. Cain’s only stumbling block.
The very qualities that endeared Mr. Cain to so many conservatives appeared to undercut his chances, as questions were raised about his management style and foreign policy expertise.
In a videotaped interview with the editorial board of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that went viral on the Web, Mr. Cain became flustered when asked to assess President Obama’s policy toward Libya, lurching over five minutes from awkward pauses to halting efforts to answer.
Compared with his rivals, Mr. Cain hardly campaigned in New Hampshire and Iowa.
Former staff members complained that he spent the bulk of his time on a book tour through the South when he should have been organizing a grass-roots operation. He occasionally mishandled potential big donors or ignored real voters, said former staff members and supporters.
On the Monday after Thanksgiving, a fifth woman, Ginger White, came forward, telling a local television reporter in Atlanta, that she and Mr. Cain had only recently ended a 13-year extramarital affair.
The day after Ms. White’s revelation, Mr. Cain said he was considering dropping his bid, as some of his supporters and defenders began backing away.
On Friday night, Mr. Cain returned home to suburban Atlanta to meet and consult with his wife for the first time since Ms. White came forward with her claim. Mr. Cain said the ultimate decision would rest with his wife.
On Saturday, Mr. Cain directed supporters to a Web site, TheCainSolutions.com.
The Web site was registered on Friday by Bell Research Companies, Inc., a company based in Tifton, Ga., set up to manufacture low-fat powdered peanut butter and alternative fuels.
The company also owns a group called Americans for Jobs and Energy Security, which promotes natural gas.
In documents filed last year with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Cain is listed on Bell’s board of directors.