Herman Cain. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, http://flic.kr/p/awTeRE
Herman Cain’s run for the Republican presidential nomination is looking increasingly shaky after a woman came forward to claim she had a 13-year extramarital affair with the pizza magnate. Ginger White told Fox 5 Atlanta that her physical relationship with Cain ended shortly before his White House bid but that they are still friends. Cain has dismissed the allegation of an affair.
This latest claim comes after weeks of sexual harassment allegations against the presidential hopeful, all of which he has denied. One-time frontrunner Cain now trails rivals Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in recent polls. So what does this mean for the GOP field?
Cain slipping. Even before the affair claim, Cain acknowledged that his chances of gaining the nomination were slipping, according to Brian Knowlton at The New York Times Caucus Blog, with the candidate blaming “false accusations and confusion about some of my positions” for his reversal of fortune. Joan Walsh slammed Cain at Salon for “trashing” the women who have accused him of sexual harassment on new website Cain Truth: “Cain will be sorry for his mockery; polls already show women voters turning against him,” she said.
“Here we go again. I didn’t do anything wrong,” said Herman Cain in response to Ginger White’s claim of a 13-year affair, reported The Washington Post.
Tipping point? Howard Kurtz suggested at The Daily Beast that the allegations of an extramarital relationship may prove the “tipping point” for Cain, and dismissed that Republican candidate’s claim that this sort of story isn’t relevant to his campaign. “If what White is saying is true, doesn’t it cast serious doubt on all of Cain’s other denials? And wouldn’t that, morality aside, leave him with a huge credibility gap?” asked Kurtz.
Romney needs Cain. According to Chris Cillizza on The Washington Post’s Fix Blog, the affair allegation may well be a “political death blow” for Cain – and this would hurt Romney. Cillizza argued that Romney has failed to win over large sections of Republican conservatives, and that these groups would turn to Gingrich if Cain dropped out of the race.
Romney v. Gingrich. Indeed, there are signs former House Speaker Gingrich already recognises this, as he has started speaking out against Romney, reported Ashley Killough for CNN: “Monday night marked the second time Gingrich went after Romney, having told a South Carolina radio station earlier in the day that his record was stronger and more consistent than that of his closest competitor in the race for the White House.”
GOP nomination up for grabs. Alex Altman assessed Gingrich’s chances at Time’s Swampland Blog, pointing out that the former House Speaker has nabbed an important endorsement from New Hampshire’s largest newspaper: “He has experience under pressure, a combative style that contrasts with Romney’s textbook prevent-defense campaign and an ability to present a case for his candidacy with force that others failed to muster.” But as the first Republican primary approaches, Altman said, the field remains “fluid”.
Not pleased. John LeBoutillier at Fox News was unimpressed at the prospect of a Romney-Ginrich match-up: “So the Republican race – in a year when President Obama is totally beatable — has come to this: Newt Gingrich, serial philanderer, liar, hypocrite, secret Rockefeller Republican, back-stabber and megalomaniac versus Mitt Romney, the Supreme Panderer, the man-with-no-principles, an utter phony,” he frothed.