Nightly News | December 03, 2011
HOLT: Good evening.
LESTER HOLT, anchor: Tonight Herman Cain is out of the race for president. With his wife standing behind him, the Republican candidate told supporters in Atlanta today that unproved accusations of office sexual harassment and an extramarital affair have exacted a painful price on his family. As recently as this summer, Cain was considered a real long shot, only to suddenly surge to near the front of the pack, a change in status that left him open to some harsh scrutiny. And tonight, as he throws in the towel, suspending his campaign, Cain remains steadfast in his denial of the allegations that have derailed his dream. Our coverage begins with NBC 's Peter Alexander outside the Cain headquarters in
Atlanta. Peter: Lester , good evening to you. Today's announcement had a lot of the same political theater that has defined Herman Cain 's unconventional campaign. There was barbecue served, music played, and, at one point, Cain even quoted the animated movie " Pokemon ." But up until the last minute, Cain 's closest advisers were still in the dark about what decision he would make. It was supposed to be a new beginning, the grand opening of Herman Cain 's Georgia state headquarters, but when Cain and his wife of 43 years, Gloria , stepped off the campaign bus , even Cain 's strongest supporters didn't know what he would say.
PETER ALEXANDER reporting: I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family.
Mr. HERMAN CAIN: Cain acknowledged the painful impact of allegations of sexual harassment and, more recently, claims by an Atlanta woman, Ginger White , of a 13-year extramarital affair .
ALEXANDER: It wasn't a love affair . It was a sexual affair .
Ms. GINGER WHITE: Still, Cain remained defiant.
ALEXANDER: 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.
Mr. CAIN: Cain 's supporters were stunned and saddened.
ALEXANDER: I really thought he was going to come out fighting, and I'm disappointed that he's not.
Ms. ELIZABETH SENNETT (Cain Supporter): The former Godfather's Pizza CEO , who rose to prominence marketing his catchy 9-9-9 tax reform plan, ran into his own financial challenges in the waning days of his campaign. And with his poll numbers plummeting in Iowa , just last week Cain unveiled this new ad.
ALEXANDER: After promising to endorse one of his former GOP opponents soon, the rest of the Republican field quickly expressed their gratitude for what the novice politician brought to the 2012 field.
ALEXANDER: He was always good-humored. He was always optimistic, and we'll miss him on the campaign trail.
Mr. NEWT GINGRICH (Republican Presidential Candidate): And to be very clear, by officially suspending his campaign, Herman Cain is no longer an active candidate, but he hand -- he can continue raising money. And if something were to change, Lester , it leaves open the possibility of him getting back into the