Herman Cain is pondering dropping out of the Republican presidential race in the face of new allegations that he had a 13-year affair with a Georgia woman that ended only eight months ago.
Cain has informed his staff that he's reassessing his decision to stay in the race following Monday's explosive allegations by 46-year-old Ginger White, acknowledging that a series of allegations of sexual impropriety are taking their toll.
"It's also taken a toll on my wife and family, as you would imagine," Cain said in a transcript of a Tuesday morning conference call obtained by the National Review Online.
"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."
White, an unemployed Atlanta businesswoman, claimed Monday that she and the one-time pizza executive had engaged in a prolonged sexual affair since the late 1990s, when he was head of the National Restaurant Association.
She alleged Cain, married for 43 years, flew her across the country to visit him as he travelled, lavishing her with gifts and expensive dinners.
Cain denied the affair even before White's interview with an Atlanta TV station had aired. White, however, provided Fox 5 with phone and text messaging records of dozens of messages and calls between the two of them at all hours of the day and night. The latest correspondence took place as recently as September.
Cain, 65, added he had no intention of dropping out of the race despite the cloud of controversy hanging over his campaign. He has also denied sexually harassing two women who came forward with their own accusations over the past several weeks.
"As long as my wife is behind me, I'm staying in this race," he said on CNN. "If I drop out because of this kind of mess ... the system wins."
He reiterated his campaign's beliefs that the women were being put up to lying by forces trying to "derail the Cain Train." The finger of blame has variously been pointed at Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the "Democratic machine" and even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former chief of staff for U.S. President Barack Obama.
All three women have denied they received any financial compensation for coming forward. White said she decided to go public in part because she was bothered by the way the Cain campaign had smeared the two women who have accused him of sexual harassment.
Fox 5 also reported White decided to speak publicly because the media was beginning to circle her, having heard whispers of her alleged affair with Cain.