- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 29, 2011

ATLANTA — Herman Cain told aides Tuesday he is assessing whether the latest allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior against him “create too much of a cloud” for his Republican presidential candidacy to go forward.

Acknowledging the “firestorm” arising from an accusation of infidelity, Mr. Cain only committed to keeping his campaign schedule for the next several days, in a conference call with his senior staff.

“If a decision is made, different than to plow ahead, you all will be the first to know,” he said, according to a transcript of the call made by the National Review, which listened to the conversation.

It was the first time doubts about Mr. Cain’s continued candidacy had surfaced from the candidate himself. As recently as Tuesday morning, a campaign spokesman had stated unequivocally that Mr. Cain would not quit.

Mr. Cain denied anew that he had an extramarital affair with a Georgia woman who went public a day earlier with allegations they had been intimate for 13 years.

“It was just a friendship relationship,” he said on the call, according to the transcript. “That being said, obviously, this is a cause for reassessment.”

He went on: “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 people’s minds, as to whether or not they would be able to support us going forth.”

Saying the episode had taken an emotional toll on him and his family, Mr. Cain told the aides that people will have to decide whether they believe him or the accuser. “That’s why we’re going to give it time, to see what type of response we get from our supporters.”

Mr. Cain has denied the affair, as well as several other accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior that have dogged his candidacy for the past month. He had been publicly resolute about pressing ahead even as his standing in public opinion polls and his fundraising started to slide.

But in the conference call, he pledged only to keep his imminent schedule, including a foreign-policy speech at Hillsdale College in Michigan later Tuesday that he promised to deliver with “vim, vigor and enthusiasm.”

Speaking to nearly 1,000 people at Hillsdale, a conservative bastion, Mr. Cain didn’t address the affair allegation. He stuck to his plan to present his foreign-policy vision, one in which the U.S. would stand by friendly nations such as Israel, quit giving money to countries he considered enemies, and spend more on defense.

“Rather than the current philosophy of cut, cut, cut, I believe our philosophy should be invest, invest, invest,” he said. “I happen to believe that we have allowed our military to get too weak.”

While Mr. Cain avoided reporters after the speech, he would hardly be able to escape them at an event from which he withdrew earlier in the day: a party in New York on Sunday to meet with some of the city’s top journalists, including NBC’s Matt Lauer and ABC’s Barbara Walters.

Cindy Adams, the New York Post columnist hosting the dinner, told the AP she had received a call Tuesday from Cain adviser John Coale saying Mr. Cain had decided not to attend. Mr. Coale declined to comment.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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