When you look at the calendar, the dizzying ride of the Cain Train basically lasted just over two months. It only felt much, much longer.
Herman Cain bolted into the national political conversation with his surprising win at a straw poll among Florida's conservatives in late September. The victory came on the heels of the unveiling of his "9-9-9" tax plan, which would soon become as ubiquitous as Cain himself.
The first story on the sexual harassment allegations that would result in a cascade of claims that would utlimately do Cain in came at the end of October. Five tempestuous weeks later, the former Godfather's Pizza chief executive was finished, suspending his campaign and ending his quixotic and often confounding bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
On Monday, a residue of the fading media spotlight was still falling on Cain. He pushed back at reports that he planned to soon endorse Newt Gingrich. And, according to CNN, he blamed the media and his opponents for giving his wife, Gloria, migraine headaches. At the same time, attorney Gloria Allred was holding yet another news conference blasting Cain for alleged sexual harassment.
It made for a fitting coda to what may end up being the most bizarre and absorbing chapter of the 2012 presidential race.
Here's a look back at some of the highs and lows (Spoiler alert: There are more lows) of Cain's rollicking ride:
May 21, 2011: Cain formally announces his insurgent bid for the presidency. "Awww, shucky ducky!" he tells a crowd in his hometown of Atlanta. He rips President Obama for his reliance on the TelePrompter. "We need a leader, not a reader!" Cain says. He would later repeat the line in a much different and unfortunate context.
Aug. 11: During a GOP debate in Ames, Iowa, Cain offers some pearls of wisdom, telling the audience, "A poet once said, 'Life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it's never easy when there's so much on the line.' " The "poet" in question turned out to be disco queen Donna Summer, who recorded a song featuring those lyrics for "Pokeman: The Movie 2000."
Sept. 15: Cain rolls out his "9-9-9" economic plan in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
Sept. 24: In an upset, Cain walks away with the Florida straw poll in Orlando, burying Mitt Romney and Rick Perry by snagging 37% of the vote. A new national political star is born.
Oct. 5: With his rivals campaigning in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Cain launches a multicity book tour that takes him to, among other places, Texas and Virginia.
Oct. 9: In a sign of troubles to come, Cain gives an interview to the Christian Broadcasting Network in which he mocks being held to a high standard on foreign policy.
"I'm ready for the 'gotcha' questions, and they're already starting to come," he said. "And when they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I'm going to say, you know, I don't know. Do you know? And then I'm going to say how's that going to create one job?"
Oct. 11: In a sign of Cain's surging candidacy, his rivals for the GOP nomination blast away at 9-9-9 at a Republican debate in New Hampshire, with Jon Huntsman Jr. saying that he thought it was the "price of a pizza" when he first heard it and Michele Bachmann contending that it would hand Congress a new tax to exploit.
Oct. 14: Leading in some polls, Cain leaves many political observers scratching their heads by launching a bus tour through Tennessee instead of campaigning in a early primary state. "Can y'all see that big bull's-eye on my back?" Cain asked during the tour's first stop in Memphis.
Oct. 18: A video of Cain singing a reworked version of John Lennon's "Imagine" hits the Internet, providing his insurgent campaign with even more media attention. The lyrics went like this:
Imagine there's no pizza I couldn't if I tried Eating only tacos Or Kentucky Fried Imagine only burgers It's frightening and sad
Oct. 19: The Cain campaign releases an unconventional Web ad featuring chief of staff Mark Block in which Block talks about why he's supporting Cain and then smokes a cigarette. The ad becomes an Internet sensation but is also criticized by political consultants for doing nothing to highlight Cain's message.
Oct. 30: On the evening before Cain is to appear in Washington at the American Enterprise Institute and the National Press Club, Politico posts a story online that asserts that two women accused Cain of sexual harassment during his tenure at the National Restaurant Assn. and that both women entered into confidential settlements.
Oct. 31: During a speech at the Press Club and in wave after wave of media interviews, Cain decries the allegations as "false" and "baseless" but seemingly contradicts himself as to whether he knew about their existence.