Herman Cain is ending his campaign for president, he announced Saturday.
“We had to come to this conclusion that it would be best to suspend this campaign,” Cain told several hundred supporters at what was supposed to be the opening of his national campaign headquarters in Atlanta.
The announcement came five days after an Atlanta-area woman claimed she had a 13-year extramarital affair with the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and amid several allegations of sexual harassment made against him.
Cain again emphatically denied all of the allegations, but said the “continued distractions, the continued hurt caused on me and my family” necessitated his decision.
“This false and unproved allegations continue to be spinned in the media and in the court of public opinion so as to create a cloud of doubt over me and this campaign and my family. That spin hurts,” he said. “It hurts my wife, it hurts my family, it hurts me and it hurts the American people because you are being denied solutions to our problems.”
Cain, joined by his wife Gloria, said he is at peace with God, his wife, his family and himself. Several times, the audience interrupted his speech to chant “Gloria! Gloria!”
“I know that many of you are disappointed,” he continued. “I understand that…I am disappointed that it came to this point, that we had to make this decision.”
Cain said he will endorse of another Republican candidate “in the near future,” though did not indicate who it would be.
According to CBS, Cain called at least some of his GOP rivals prior to his announcement.
“We have talked to the Cain camp, but we don’t want to characterize the conversations,” Michele Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart confirmed to the network.
Cain insisted he will not simply vanish from the national spotlight, and will continue to be a voice, announcing the launch of a new website to be called thecainsolutions.com. He called it his “Plan B” — a grassroots effort to return government to the people.
“The pundits would like for me to shut up, drop out, and go away,” he said. “I am not going to be silenced and I am not going away!”
Cain said he wanted to leave the crowd with one final message, joking “I believe these words came from the Pokemon movie, the media pointed that out.”
“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,” Cain said. “I’ve had to look inside to find what I can do. And here’s what I can do, here’s what we can do: We can put ‘united’ back into the United States of America and move this shining city on a hill back to the top of the hilltop where it belongs!”