updated 12/03/2011 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 12/03/2011 AT 2:00 PM ET
It’s official: Herman Cain is out.
The plain-talking GOP presidential candidate, who has been dogged by allegations of infidelity, has suspended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
“False accusations,” he told supporters Saturday outside his campaign headquarters in Atlanta, have created “a cloud of doubt over me and this campaign and my family. … It hurts my wife, it hurts my family, it hurts me, and it hurts the American people because you’re being denied solutions to our problems.”
Cain, who arrived hand-in-hand with his wife of 43 years, Gloria, said the decision came after “a lot of prayer and soul searching,” adding: “My wife, my family and I – we know that those false and unproved allegations are not true. I am at peace with my God. I am at peace with my wife. And she is at peace with me. And I am at peace with my family and at peace with myself.”
The announcement followed a week of the unconventional political hopeful’s denials he had a 13-year extramarital affair with an Atlanta woman, Ginger White. White said in a TV interview Nov. 28 that she and Cain were involved in a sexual and romantic relationship and that he gave her money.
Cain, 65, had said he was going to spend Friday finally discussing the matter with his wife.
The reputation and standing in the polls of the former Godfather s Pizza chief executive had already slipped in the past month after allegations from four other women that he sexually harassed them in the 1990s. Cain has vehemently denied all the charges, going so far as to call them “garbage.”
Despite the suspension of his campaign, a defiant Cain insisted he would not be going away quietly: “The pundits would like for me to shut up, drop out and go away. Well, as my grandmother who lived to be 104 years old used to say when somebody was dead wrong, ‘Bless their little hearts.’ I am not gonna be silenced and I am not going away.”
He also said he would be announcing his endorsement for president, and it would not be the incumbent.