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Cain Tells Staff: I'm 'Reassessing' If I Should Stay in Race

Will decide "over the next several days." -- Huntsman piles on: "Diminishes our ability to stay focused" --

(The Blaze/AP) -- Herman Cain's Iowa campaign chairman is telling The Associated Press that the candidate is reassessing his presidential campaign a day after an Atlanta businesswoman alleged a 13-year extramarital affair with the Republican. And National Review now has a transcript of a call with Cain where he admits the same thing.

Steve Grubbs says that on a conference call with senior staff early Tuesday, Cain said the allegations have taken an emotional toll on his family but that he's moving ahead with the campaign.

Still, Grubbs said Cain told his staff he would be reassessing how to move forward given that the allegations have damaged his fundraising.

The Iowa chairman said Cain still planned to deliver a foreign policy speech in Michigan later Tuesday at Hillsdale College in Michigan.

The news was first reported by National Review's Robert Costa, who was on the call and added that Cain will make a final decision “over the next several days.”

National Review has also published a transcript of Cain's comments on the call. We've included them below and added emphasis where necessary:

“Obviously, you’re all aware of this recent firestorm that hit the news yesterday,” Cain began, his voice somber. “First thing I want to do is say to you what I have said publicly: I deny those charges, unequivocally. Secondly, I have known this lady for a number of years. And thirdly, I have been attempting to help her financially because she was out of work and destitute, desperate. So, thinking that she was a friend — and I have helped many friends — I now know that she wasn’t the friend that I thought she was. But it was a just a friendship relationship.”

“That being said, obviously, this is cause for reassessment,” he continued. “As you know, during the summer we had to make some reassessments based upon our financial situation. We were able to hang in there; we reassessed the situation and kept on going. We also did a reassessment after the Iowa straw poll and we made another reassessment after the Florida straw poll. When the previous two accusations, false accusations, came about, we made another assessment. The way we handled those was, we continued on with our schedule. We made an assessment about what was going to happen to our support. But our supporters, and even some folks that we didn’t have as supporters, they stood with us, and they showed it not only in terms of their verbal support, they showed it in terms of their dollars.”

“Now, 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,” Cain said.

“Over the next several days, we are going to continue with the schedule as usual,” he said. “I’ve got a major speech tonight at Hillsdale College on national security and foreign policy, and I will deliver it with vim, vigor, and enthusiasm. And then tomorrow we’ve got some media appearances scheduled. So we’re going to continue until we complete our assessment over the next several days.”

“But if a decision is made, different than to plow ahead, you all will be the first to know,” he said. “So until that time, I want to continue to thank you all for your support, thank you for your prayers. It’s taken an emotional toll, but the people in the audience tonight will never know it.”

“It’s also taken a toll on my wife and family, as you would imagine,” he concluded. “Any time you put another cloud of doubt, unfortunately, in the court of public opinion, for some people, you’re guilty until proven innocent. And so, the public will have to decide whether they believe her or whether they believe me. That’s why we’re going to give it time, to see what type of response we get from our supporters.”

The reported second thoughts come on the heels of yet another set of allegations against the candidate involving inappropriate relationships with women.

Cain has fiercely denied wrongdoing in all of the cases, and sought to project business as usual even as his team worked behind the scenes to stem the fallout of the latest allegation. It came just five weeks before the Iowa caucuses that kick off the state-by-state voting process for the GOP nomination.

The admission by Grubbs comes after J.D. Gordon, Cain's spokesman, said "Yes" when asked on Tuesday whether Cain is definitely staying in the race.

This is a breaking story. Updates will be added.

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