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.”
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From SPIEGEL ONLINE INTERNATIONAL:
The US Republican race is dominated by ignorance, lies and scandals. The current crop of candidates have shown such a basic lack of knowledge that they make George W. Bush look like Einstein. The Grand Old Party is ruining the entire country’s reputation.
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From News Hounds:
Bret Baier visited The O’Reilly Factor tonight to discuss his somewhat contentious interview with Mitt Romney the day before. Apparently, Romney was not pleased and complained that Baier was overly aggressive. Contentious interview with a Republican candidate? A discussion on the top-rated O’Reilly about it in which Baier suggests Romney is a sissy? Is Fox throwing its weight behind its former contributor Newt Gingrich – who, it just so happens, had an hourlong lapdog interview with Hannity tonight? Or is Baier really trying to be fair and balanced with tough questions?
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From the Atlantic wire:
His fellow Republican presidential candidates were reluctant to comment on accusations that Herman Cain sexually harassed several women in the 1990s, but now that a woman is claiming they had a long-term consensual affair, they’re ready to speak out.
Jon Huntsman told the Boston Globe‘s Michael Levenson that Cain should think about dropping out […]
The Des Moines Register‘s Jason Noble notes Michele Bachmann told Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson Tuesday morning that Cain said he will “reassess” his campaign because that’s “code language for the fact that they’re looking at the viability of their effort moving forward … I think that they recognize that the support has really dropped out of their campaign because of those questions.” She went further on the Scott Hennen radio show, CBS News reports, saying, “Everyone has said to me yesterday – when it came out yesterday, everyone said this is it, he’s done … People just don’t see that there is an ability for him to be able to come back after that.”
Newt Gingrich, who’s less desperate for better poll numbers than Huntsman or Bachmann, wasn’t willing to call Cain’s campaign dead yet.
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From Chris Moody at THE TICKET at YAHOO!:
NAPLES, Fla. — The staff at Books-a-Million didn’t know what hit them.
In preparation for a Saturday morning book signing with Newt Gingrich, the bookstore printed numbered cards for the first 500 people looking for an autograph from the former House speaker and Republican presidential candidate. The store gave out its first card at 8 a.m. on Black Friday–27 hours before Gingrich was scheduled to arrive–and ran out before he stepped in the door. After that, the Gingrich fans had to fend for themselves.
Gingrich spent the two days after Thanksgiving on a campaign swing through Naples, Florida, a wealthy conservative stronghold in the Sunshine State that was, to say the least, extremely welcoming.
After his speech, during which he took time to clarify his position on illegal immigration, Gingrich hopped over to a $1,000-per-person fundraiser at a city council member’s home and then spent four hours the next morning at a Books-a-Million, where he brought in 650 people.
After months in the middle tier, Gingrich is the latest presidential candidate not named Mitt to ascend to the top of national polls. And with just five weeks until the first caucus in Iowa, he may have the best chance at being there when it matters. On Sunday, the largest newspaper in New Hampshire, the Union Leader, endorsed Gingrich in the Republican primary.
Although he has been in the public eye for years and seen his share of crowds, this kind of attention is new for Presidential Candidate Newt.
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From STEVE KORNACKI at OPENING SHOT at Salon:
We may be witnessing the political world’s answer to “The Producers,” the Mel Brooks musical about an avaricious showman who concocts a sure-to-flop production that somehow turns into the surprise hit of the season. It’s called the Newt Gingrich presidential campaign.
The former House speaker has rocketed to the top in national GOP polling, and with only weeks remaining until the Iowa caucuses he now has an opportunity to cement his status as the conservative movement’s designated alternative to Mitt Romney. In a month full of breakthroughs for him, Gingrich scored his biggest coup yet over the weekend, when the Manchester Union Leader awarded him the most coveted newspaper endorsement on the Republican side.
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From Ruth Marcus at POST OPINIONS at The Washington Post:
Let us now contemplate Mitt Romney’s hair.
Actually, let us now join the crowd contemplating Mitt Romney’s hair.
The growing crowd. The would-be First Hair made the front page of Friday’s New York Times. At a debate in Michigan a couple of weeks ago, the blogosphere responded to a few uncharacteristically stray Romney locks as if they were loose nukes.
And when late-night television host Jimmy Fallon asked presidential rival Michele Bachmann recently what comes to mind when she thinks of Romney, she answered, perhaps inevitably: “Hair.”
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