Cain Announces That He Will Suspend His Campaign (UPDATED with ROUNDUP)
He was very critical of the news media for “spinning stories that are unproven” and discussed the pain and anguish the stories have caused for him and his family. He also took responsibility for any mistakes he has made in the past, which is not exactly an admission but not entirely a denial.
It is worth noting that by ‘suspending’ his campaign rather than ending it he may be able to continue some campaign activities including some fundraising. My guess is he wants to make sure that he is able to pay off all of the campaign debts.
He is also withholding his endorsement of any other candidate, which may mean he is hoping to use the future endorsement to get a Cabinet spot in a future administration (though I think for that he has to wait until 2017)
He then announced that he will open a web site called Cainsoultions.com which presumably will allow him to continue to play a role without being a candidate, which was probably his goal from the start.
REACTIONS TO HERMAN CAIN’S SUSPENSION:
Cain was diverted from the issues he had been pounding away on, to the extent that he was rendered ineffective. When was the last time you heard anyone talking about 9-9-9? Whether the accusations were true or not (and it is hard to believe that there was no fire anywhere in all that smoke), Cain’s effectiveness as a candidate was destroyed.
What happened to Herman Cain is what the Democrats intend to do to whoever the Republican nominee turns out to be. They know they can’t win a debate on the economy or on President Obama’s record, so they will do everything they can to distract the voters’ attention from those matters, which should be decisive, and instead turn the focus to the GOP candidate and his or her alleged foibles. If Republican voters allow that to happen by nominating a candidate with baggage that permits the Democrats to turn him into the next Herman Cain, it is all too likely that President Obama will be re-elected, with consequences that can hardly be overestimated.
Up until relatively recently, Cain seemed destined to become a conservative star on the media/lecture/publishing circuit, conceivably even offering a justification for his absurd campaign. But over the last several weeks, it probably became apparent, even to Republican voters, that Herman Cain is a not-terribly-bright guy with a scandalous personal life. The more we learned about Cain, the harder it was to respect him.
That said, Cain remains a GOP player of some notoriety, and the remaining Republican presidential candidates were tripping over one another this afternoon to offer praise for Cain, hoping to woo not only the man but also his remaining supporters. When Cain declared today, “I will be making an endorsement in the near future,” this only intensified the other campaigns’ eagerness.
We’ll see what happens, but today’s announcement certainly doesn’t do Mitt Romney any favors. The former governor, who’s had a rough couple of weeks, benefited greatly from Cain’s presence in the race — Cain was the unelectable sideshow who took attention and support away from stronger challengers.
So, what does the race look like with Cain gone from it?
In truth, the contest had been moving on — and away — from Cain for the better part of the last month. “Whatever his departure means to the race that’s already happened, it happened a few days ago,” mused one GOP strategist.
The obvious beneficiary from Cain’s slow-motion collapse is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who rose rapidly as his fellow Georgian’s support cratered.
“Cain’s exit allows Newt the opportunity to coalesce the anti- [Mitt] Romney, conservative base in Iowa and South Carolina, endangering Romney’s path to the nomination,” theorized one adviser to another candidate in the Republican race. (We made a similar case earlier this week.)
It’s worth noting that the idea of Cain’s departure as a major windfall for Gingrich, while widespread, is not entirely born out by the numbers. A Pew poll conducted before Thanksgiving, for example, showed that Cain supporters split evenly between Romney and Gingrich when asked for their second choice.
“[Cain’s] absence mostly means Romney’s chances at top two out of Iowa are enhanced,” said one unaligned Republican operative. “And that matters due to perception of momentum coming into New Hampshire.”
There will also be a scramble among the remaining candidates to harvest the staff and activist talent that Cain had gathered. While Cain’s campaign was, largely, filled with little-known operatives, he did have some well-regarded backers — most notably Kathleen Shanahan, a former senior political aide to then Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
In reality, of course, it wasn’t the allegations themselves that brought Herman Cain down so much as his own and his campaigns inept, insulting, and downright stupid reaction to the allegations. When we first learned of the stories regarding alleged sexual harassment at the National Restaurant Association, the response from the Cain campaign, which had ten days advance notice of a story which could not have come as a surprise to Cain personally, was nothing short of totally inept. Within days, they were flinging accusations of dirty tricks at everyone from a former aide on Cain’s 2004 Senate campaign to the Rick Perry campaign, all of which later turned out to be untrue. When women such as Sharon Bialek went public with their allegations, Cain resorted to the old trick of claiming that these women were either in it for the money or they were “troubled,” in some way, a charge he repeated mere days ago when the Ginger White story came out. If it was these allegations that brought Herman Cain down, then he has nobody to blame but himself.
Personally I would have preferred if what brought down Herman Cain wasn’t allegations about his sexual proclivities, but the rather obvious fact that he was entirely unqualified for the office that he sought. His solution to any domestic policy problem never seemed to stray beyond reciting the name of his inherently flawed tax plan. On foreign policy, he displayed an appalling level of ignorance about even basic matters that he actually seemed to be proud of. His disgusting bigotry toward Muslims, displayed in full force when his campaign was first launched, should have been enough to disqualify him as well. From the beginning, it never really seemed like Herman Cain was serious about running for President, a fact that was amply demonstrated by the manner in which he ran his campaign, the people he selected to surround himself with, and the fact that he seemed more concerned with promoting his book that engaging in anything resembling a campaign strategy.
But let’s be real clear here. Herman Cain did not get wiped out by an affair or allegations of sexual harassment, frivolous or otherwise. He got wiped out because those allegations threw him off his game and then he kept stumbling through attacks on his 999 plan, his foreign policy issues, and his campaign staff generally beclowning themselves with allegations, retracted allegations, and retracted retractions of allegations, etc.
A lot of people will see this as a sign that amateurs cannot run for office. Perhaps. I actually see it more as another failure of the professional political class. I’ll have more thoughts on that later.
In any event, Cain is out. The size of the debates will suddenly become more manageable. Most of Cain’s support will go to Gingrich. Some will go back to Rick Perry. And soon Cain will be forgotten.
It is a sad ending for a good man.
Oh, Herman, we hardly knew ye.
In the most entertaining “I’m quitting” press conference since half-term Gov. Sarah Palin quit her job because only dead fish go with the flow, Herman Cain announced he’s dropping out of the race to spend more time sleeping on the couch.
It was fun while it lasted though, wasn’t it? So many fond memories. Herman’s “Imagine there’s no pizza” video. His “joke” about electrocuting immigrants who try to cross the border. His insistence that we can’t invade countries that have mountains. His confusion about Libya. His confusion about China. His confusion about what language is spoken in Cuba. (Hint: It’s not Cuban.) His ever-changing stories about the women who come up to his chin. His secret friendship with his special lady friend. And, of course, his SimCity-inspired tax plan for America.
BorowitzReport Andy Borowitz
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