Herman Cain announcement: Is he staying, or is he going?

Herman Cain said he would announce the future of his presidential bid on Saturday in Atlanta. As bad as things look for him right now, there are no certainties in this campaign season.

Richard Shiro/AP
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks to supporters Friday in Rock Hill, S.C.

Herman Cain announced on Friday that in Atlanta on Saturday he’ll announce the future of his presidential bid.

So is he staying or is he going? (And yes, the classic Clash song on that subject is running through our heads as we type this.)

Well, it’s hard to see how his campaign goes forward. As we’ve already written, it’s zombie-like at the moment. His polls are plummeting in key states and his money is drying up. He’s acknowledged that he knows Ginger White, the woman who says they had a 13-year affair, though he says they were just friends. He also acknowledges that he’s given her money from time to time, and that he did not tell his wife about that. Isn’t that big marital trouble, right there?

The Washington Post says Cain has invited major supporters to Atlanta for his big announcement, and that at least one of them believes he’s going to drop out.

But this has been a crazy political cycle already, so we’re not prepared to predict that the end comes tomorrow. It’s also possible he’ll announce he’s going on, and that his major news is something like the opening of a new national campaign headquarters in Atlanta.

After all, the campaign announced the formation of a “Women for Cain” group on Friday. Why bother with that if he’s going to pull out?

Plus, politicians that are about to deliver bad news – or at least, news that reflects badly on them – generally underplay it. They usually don’t announce ahead of time they’re going to announce they’ve failed in a quest, in front of an audience of supporters they’ve gathered specially for that occasion. That maximizes the audience for their calamity.

And on Thursday at least, both Cain and his lawyer continued to charge in public appearances that Ginger White was exaggerating her relationship with the ex-Godfather Pizza CEO, had little evidence to back up her assertions, and was possibly just in it for the money.

On CNN, for instance, Cain attorney Lin Wood got into something of a shouting match with Piers Morgan over whether the news media was being too soft on Cain’s accusers.

Mr. Wood said Ms. White so far has produced no receipts of the travel she says Cain paid for, none of the gifts she says Cain gave her, and no photos of her and Cain together.

It is true Cain and White texted each other, Wood said, but that proved little. Of the 70 texts between them in a recent four-week period, 57 were initiated by White, said the attorney.

Wood said his son could sit down to watch a University of Georgia football game and easily send 50 texts to a single friend by the fourth quarter.

“You know, text messages aren’t necessarily the way people communicate in-depth discussion,” Wood said on Piers Morgan’s show.

In fact, White’s texts to Cain represented only about two percent of her total texting traffic for the weeks in question, asserted Wood.

Ginger White, for her part, in an appearance on MSNBC, apologized for any hurt she’s caused Cain’s wife.

“I’m not a cold-hearted person. I’m the mother of two kids,” said White, adding that one of the hardest parts of going public with her claims has been telling her two children, now 19 and 20, what she says happened in the past.

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