ATLANTA (AP) — Herman Cain is still campaigning for president. But by most measures, his White House bid is all but over.

His standing in polls is cratering. Supporters are wavering if not fleeing. Fundraising is suffering.

And, these days, the former pizza company executive is less a serious candidate than the butt of late-night comedy jokes after a string of accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior and, now, an allegation of a 13-yearlong extramarital affair.

“His chance at winning the presidency are effectively zero,” said Dave Welch, a Republican strategist who worked on both of John McCain’s presidential bids.

And Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway said: “It’s the daily dose of the wince-and-cringe factor that leaves people wondering what could be coming next,”

As it has since Ginger White stepped forward Monday, the allegation of an affair overshadowed Cain’s campaign for another day Thursday, when he told the New Hampshire Union Leader that his wife, Gloria, did not know he was providing the 46-year-old Atlanta-area businesswoman with money for “month-to-month bills and expenses.”

And, Cain said, his wife also didn’t know of what he called a friendship with White until she said publicly that she had a casual 13-year affair with Cain that ended about eight months ago.

White returned to television herself, telling MSNBC in an interview Thursday night that she was “deeply sorry” for causing Cain’s wife or other members of his family any pain.

“My heart bleeds for this woman because I am a woman and being in a situation like this cannot be fun. And I am deeply, deeply sorry if I have caused any hurt to her and to his kids, to his family,” she said.

White said the affair was never about love and that Cain never said he loved her.

“Nor did I tell him that I loved him,” she said. “It wasn’t a love affair. It was a sexual affair, as hard as that is for me to say and as hard as it is for people to hear it. You know, it pretty much is what it is. And that’s what it was.”

On Fox News Thursday night, Cain said he will make a decision on the future of his campaign before Monday. One option would be to continue his bid “full steam ahead” and another would be to suspend the effort. Viability will be a key consideration.

“This whole series of accusations is going to leave a little cloud of doubt in a lot of people’s minds for a long, long time,” he said.

It is the latest chapter in a saga that has played out in recent weeks as his campaign has been rocked first with allegations of sexual harassment and, now, White’s affair claim.

Even before all that surfaced, Cain faced steep hurdles to the nomination. He didn’t have much of a campaign organization. He was spending more time on a book tour than in early primary and caucus states. And he was facing doubts about whether he was ready for the presidency, given a series of fumbles on policy questions.

Over the past month, Cain has watched his standing in polls sink. He acknowledged his fundraising took a hit after White came forward, and political experts predict that his ability to take in campaign cash will evaporate now that he is re-evaluating whether to remain in the race. If he decides to continue running, Cain would face another big hurdle: the loss of grassroots support, which has provided the core of his base for his anti-establishment campaign.

Atlanta Tea Party Patriots co-founder Debbie Dooley typifies the falloff of support. She had been vigorously defending Cain as the sexual harassment allegations trickled out. But White’s accusation proved too much. On Thursday, White’s attorney released more cell phone billing records showing that Cain and White had dialed each other 10 times from June 18 to Nov. 18.

The pair also exchanged 226 text messages, including 58 that Cain sent to White. Cain’s attorney, Lin Wood, said some of the messages are White asking for help paying for her rent, gasoline and car tags.

“I don’t know what to believe,” Dooley said. “I just think he needs to get out now and focus on his family.”

Charlie Gruchow, one of Cain’s earliest and most devout supporters in Iowa, has said he has moved his support to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, because he doesn’t think Cain can survive politically.

“I still don’t believe all the allegations,” he said. “But it’s really damaged him.”

Even Cain’s supporters acknowledge his odds have grown even steeper with a cloud planted over his campaign and just weeks before voting gets under way in Iowa.

“I’m still backing him, but I definitely think it’s a bigger and bigger mountain to climb,” Florida state Rep. Carlos Trujillo said Tuesday, the day after White emerged. “It’s going to be difficult to make up that ground in so short an amount of time.”

Cain has said he is reassessing and re-evaluating whether to remain in the race and will only make that decision after speaking face-to-face with his wife of 42 years.

The candidate is expected back in his home state of Georgia after campaign stop in South Carolina Friday afternoon and will presumably talk with his wife then. His campaign wouldn’t provide details.

He has canceled a Friday night event at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

“We’ve postponed it while he revaluates,” organizer Gil Bell said.

But Georgia state Sen. Josh McKoon, a supporter, said the planned opening of a campaign headquarters in Atlanta was still on.

“Without a doubt,” McKoon said.

Cain was keeping up a busy schedule. After visiting New Hampshire, Cain spoke Thursday night at the business school of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, focusing his remarks on his business career and making no mention of White’s accusation or the fate of his candidacy. He was set to headline a campaign event Friday afternoon in Rock Hill, S.C.

Hecklers interrupted Cain at Middle Tennessee State. One man shouted, “Sexual abuse is unacceptable” while others chanted, “We are the 99 percent,” the slogan of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

“We have freedom of speech. Some people simply abuse it,” Cain said after the protesters left. “That’s why I didn’t get rattled.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (18)
  1. BARBBF says:

    Same thing everyone who supposedly knew more than anyone else said of Newt a few months ago! Why were so many so eager to believe anything and everything those questionable accusers claimed.

    Who is Ginger White? Herman Cain’s alleged mistress is single mom and unemployed former businesswoman
    Claims she had affair with GOP candidate for 13 years

    BY Joseph Straw & Bill Hutchinson

    Tuesday, November 29 2011, 12:40 AM
    Ginger White, who went public with an allegation that she had a 13-year affair with GOP candidate Herman Cain, poses for a photo near Dunwoody, Ga. on Monday.

    Ginger White, who went public with an allegation that she had a 13-year affair with GOP candidate Herman Cain, poses for a photo near Dunwoody, Ga. on Monday.

    The Atlanta woman who says she was Herman Cain’s mistress for 13 years is a down-on-her-luck single mom who once sued a former employer for sexual harassment.

    Ginger White surfaced in bombshell fashion on Monday, telling an Atlanta TV station that she’s “not proud” of what she described as long-running sexual shenanigans with the married GOP White House contender.

    “I didn’t want to come out this way,” she said in an interview with Atlanta’s FOX affiliate WAGA-TV that put Cain on the defensive even before it was aired.

    White described herself in the interview as a jobless former businesswoman. She is middle-aged, has two children and was evicted from her Atlanta home earlier this month, according to a background check done by the TV station.

    WAGA reporters also found records showing she has been hit with several eviction notices in DeKalb County, Ga., over the past six years.

    She filed for bankruptcy 23 years ago, the station reported. In 2001, she also filed a sexual harassment suit, which was later settled, according to the station.

    Her former business partner, Kimberly Vay, once sued her and accused her of stalking, the station reported.

    Vay, who did not respond to calls for comment Monday, also sought an order of protection against White, charging that she was bombarded with emails and texts “threatening [a\] lawsuit” and defaming her character.

    A judge ruled in favor of Vay in a libel suit she had filed against White, the station reported.

    White admits she has struggled as a single mother, but added that her financial woes shouldn’t define her.

    Has your station reported any of this????

    1. And you point would be says:

      what exactly.

      So Cain was running around on his wife with a loser. So what?

  2. TW says:

    I find it hard to believe that Cain is so stupid to believe that he could hide the skeletons in his past under the cut throat politics of the present. And I felt the same about John Edwards, Bill Clinton and the others.

  3. frozenrunner says:

    Sex and politics. The liberal politicians can get away with it occasionally. Perhaps one has to have ideas clearly embraceable and some charisma. Clearly Cain lacks these qualities.

    1. Here we go again says:

      Yeah, you’re right. No such thing as a conservative politician who got away with it occasionally.

      And you guys wonder why we laugh at you.

  4. mel says:

    How many politicians had affairs exposed during their campaigns and still won? Lets see, all the democrats, and no republicans. Can we say double standard. Anyone remember Bill Clinton and his little mistress from arkansas?

    1. charlie says:

      When you claim to espouse “family values,” you gotta behave in accordance.


      1. Callina says:

        So it’s better to elect someone who doesn’t believe in family values at all?

    2. Ahhh yes says:

      Short memories are so convenient for you folks. Remember 1988? Gary Hart?

      No? Figures.

  5. MinnesotaMean says:

    Aw, that’s a sheme. I’m going to miss his goofy hat.

  6. tom says:

    A new campaign slogan. Reach out and grab some one.

  7. See BS says:

    I watched the movie “Primary Colors” last night with John Travolta and it seems to be loosely based on President Clinton.

    Furthermore — remember when Rob Lowe got in trouble for making a sex tape with a minor while campaigning for Dukakis at hotel near the Democrat convention?

    David Duke was running for President on a DNC Ticket that year too.

    1. Well then!! says:

      Guess that proves Obama is a Muslim, eh?

  8. james2 says:

    One less b.i.g.o.t that we have to worry about.

    Now if the Republican party could find someone who isn’t concerned with public control by social engineering, I’d be happy.

    That with the understanding of sovereign individuality. I must be asking too much.

  9. herman c says:

    Shatty pizza for everyone!!

  10. Banden says:

    and my comments are blocked because I noticed his “girlfriends” are white?

  11. Murph says:

    I guess it’s just a case of Herman and all the rest being so exclusively superior to the voters.That we overlook what they are doing and elect them for the lies they want us to believe.And if the good Lord let’s them win at that game,I could just puke! We are all sinners and so why bother pretending you are not like these GOP morons that we will be listening to for how many more months?Geez,these winters are long enough without having to hear the same fascist B.S. time and time agaain! Hopefully CBS will have the cocoanuts to run cartoons or something instead of these debates!

  12. Ordinary Guy says:

    If we hadn’t been distracted by the Ken Starr investigation of Bill Clinton, we might have noticed that his meteoric rising stock market was resulting in job losses and credit card and home equity debts that would ultimately result in collapse. Why can’t reporters keep their eye on the ball?

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