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A defiant Herman Cain vows to keep campaign alive

November 30, 2011|By James Oliphant
(John Summers II/Reuters )

Herman Cain’s not going anywhere. At least for now.

A day after reports had his presidential campaign “reassessing” the future after an Atlanta woman claimed that she had a long-term affair with the candidate, Cain delivered a defiant speech at an event in Dayton, Ohio, that showed no indication he is close to quitting.

Instead, as he has done with increasing frequency while his campaign has been rocked by recurring allegations of sexual impropriety, Cain suggested that he is a victim of greater forces, of an unidentified conspiracy that’s trying to keep him from the White House.

“They want you to believe that we can’t do this,” Cain told a crowd of several hundred people. “They want you to believe with enough character assassination on me I will drop out.” (The audience responded with shouts of "No!")

“The establishment does not want Herman Cain to get this nomination. The liberals do not want Herman Cain to get this nomination,” he said later, suggesting, “They want to shoot me down and tear me down” because his message is “resonating” with the American people.

Otherwise, his remarks were peppered with allusions to his “9-9-9” tax plan and his lack of foreign policy experience, which he compared to Ronald Reagan’s before Reagan was elected president. And he frequently invoked religion, saying as president he would not be “politically correct.”

“I have discovered there’s your plan in life and there’s God’s plan,” he said.

On the same day that Ginger White, the Atlanta woman who says she carried on a “casual affair” with Cain for more than a decade, appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to essentially accuse Cain of hiding the truth about their relationship, his speech seemed intended to be a sort of renewal, a vow to press forward.

But the unavoidable fact that Cain was making his stand in Ohio—as opposed to a state that holds a Republican primary early next year—only underscored his often bizarre approach to campaigning.

Cain told his supporters they are part of a “movement that’s sweeping this country” and urged them to “stay informed.”

Why? “Because stupid people are ruining America,” he said. “We just have to outvote them.”

Updated: A CNN correspondent, Jim Acosta, said he spoke to Cain briefly after the speech and asked Cain whether he is staying in the race. Cain said a decision would be made within the next several days.

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