Cain Leaves Presidential Race

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Herman Cain has suspended his presidential campaign. Host Scott Simon gets the story from NPR's Don Gonyea


Herman Cain is appearing before his supporters in Georgia now, and NPR's Don Gonyea is going to join us. He's speaking but, in fact, he hasn't reached what we would call the hard news lead to announce whether he's staying in the race for the Republican nomination for president, or getting out. Don, are you there?

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: I'm here. (unintelligible) what he said. Hundreds of people waiting for hours to hear. He's been talking probably about six minutes now, if my clock is correct. He's telling us all the reasons he ran, and it certainly sounds like he could make the turn into why he is dropping out at this point. But again, he has not done that. We don't know. We're just kind of waiting and monitoring it as he speaks. But it's quite a scene there, it's quite a crowd. It does not feel like the end of a campaign. They're serving barbeque, they've got a deejay. The crowd seems plenty happy. But again, none of that really tells us what's in Mr. Cain's head.

SIMON: And we will note for people inevitably, you take a look for signs here that Mr. Cain pulled up in what seems to be his red campaign bus. He walked out of the bus hand-in-hand with his wife, Gloria, who is on stage with him.

GONYEA: Exactly. And they were both waving to the crowd and I can tell you, she was waving to the crowd and smiling broadly. So, she does not seem to be someone who is reluctant to be there at that point; at least outwardly, by her actions so far.

SIMON: You know, Don, I always enjoy speaking with you, but obviously, until Mr. Cain tips his hand, there's not a whole lot to say. But let's remind ourselves, this comes after a week in which, of course, he's had to contend with the allegation of a 13-year extramarital affair, following charge that he sexually harassed several women during his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association, claims he has denied. But also, some questions, I guess, about how he handled questions on foreign policy in various venues, right?

GONYEA: Correct. And he's losing a lot of support. Polls show him down in single digits in Iowa now. He's lost two-thirds of his support there. Conservative Iowa Congressman Steven King today sent out a tweet that said, I wish him well, whether he's in or out. Whether the allegations are true or not, his campaign is over. So, you're getting those kinds of reactions from people who might have been a supporter in the past.

SIMON: Well, NPR News will obviously continue to monitor Mr. Cain's appearance, and the Cain campaign, whether it continues today or whether we have seen the end of it. NPR's Don Gonyea speaking with us. Thanks very much for being with us, Don.

GONYEA: My pleasure.

SIMON: And we will continue to monitor events from Herman Cain's headquarters in Georgia, and we'll stay on this story. This is NPR News.

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