After being embroiled in sexual harassment claims and allegations of an extramarital affair for the past month, Herman Cain said on Saturday he is suspending his campaign for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.
"Becoming president was plan A," Herman Cain told supporters in his howetown of Atlanta, Georgia. "Today I want to describe plan B. As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign."
Cain blamed the political and media pressure in light of the allegations he has denied, saying it has taken a toll on his family.
"I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family," he said.
However, he said he was not going out without a battle. "I am not going to be silenced and I'm not going away," Cain said.
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The former head of Godfather's Pizza has been marred with allegations of adultery and sexual misconduct starting in October when two women came foward and accused Cain of sexual harassment during time as CEO of the National Restaraunt Associations in the late 1990s.
Harassment accusations have since been made by two additional women, along with a woman named Ginger White who claimed in late November she had a 13-year extra-marital affair with Cain. He has denied the allegations but the amount of time the claims have sat center-stage of Cain's election efforts have taken a toll.
"Because of these false and unproved accusations, it has paid and had a tremendous painful price on my family," Cain said, with his wife, Gloria, standing behind him on the stage.
"Now here's why it hurts — because my wife, my family and I, we know that those false and unproved allegations are not true. So one of the first declarations that I want to make to you today is that I am at peace with my God. I am at peace with my wife. And she is at peace with me."
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Cain's decision to suspend the campaign comes with a few exceptions. He will still be able to continue raising and spending campaign funds.
Although he has not dropped out of the race entirely, Cain said he would endorse another candidate an a later unspecified date, as political observers speculate Newt Gringrich as the likeliest beneficiary. Gingrich took to Twitter to praise Cain during his speech, writing "I am proud to know Herman Cain and consider him a friend and I know he will continue to be a powerful voice for years to come."
Cain's journey throughout the GOP presidential race has seen its highs and lows, as the Washington Post wrote:
In a Republican nominating contest that has see-sawed from one frontrunner to another, Cain, 65, was perhaps the unlikeliest to rise to the top of the pack. A former pizza executive with no political experience, little campaign to speak of and a schedule tailored more to selling books than winning votes, Cain nevertheless captured the hearts of Republican voters with a clear message, confidently delivered.
Cain ended his concession speech in a bizarre fashion – by quoting a Pokémon movie. "I believe these words came from the Pokémon movie," Cain said. "Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible. It's never easy when there's so much on the line. But you and I can make a difference. There's a mission just for you and me....Just look inside and you will find just what you can do."