Will he or won’t he?
The political world is on a Herman Cain death watch, but those who are close to the campaign say they see no tangible signs that the candidate is getting ready to hang it up.
That appeared more likely after Cain revealed to the New Hampshire Union Leader on Thursday afternoon that his wife was not aware of his friendship with Ginger White or that he gave her “financial assistance” before she came forward earlier this week alleging the two had a 13-year affair.
He also acknowledged that ending his campaign is “an option.”
The biggest problem facing Cain and his team is that fundraising has “slowed considerably,” particularly since the most recent allegation of the affair, according to a person familiar with the campaign’s thinking.
Money is so short that the campaign cannot afford to air ads to respond.
Just hours before his Union Leader interview was published, his campaign aides were insisting he was not leaving the race.
“We are positively full steam ahead,” Lisa Lockwood, a spokeswoman for the campaign, wrote in an e-mail, adding that she was sitting with Cain manager Mark Block, who knew nothing of any plans to announce anything that suggested otherwise. “ He is in it to win it,” she wrote of Cain. “That has not changed.”
Cain has said publicly and privately that he will decide whether to stay in the race after discussing it with his family, which is a conversation that will not happen before Friday.
But one source close to the candidate said Cain’s family has thus far urged him to keep running.
“They’re all pissed--not at him,” the source said.
As for Cain himself, the source added: “At this point, he thinks he can go on.”
Of course, in the end, the decision will not be Cain’s alone. Much will depend, for instance, on whether he can continue to raise money, or whether his key supporters begin to abandon him.
Cain and his staff “very much want to keep going,” the person said. “But they’re very concerned about fundraising,” the person added. “And if they can’t continue raising money, they can’t move forward.”
The staff remains committed to Cain, the person said.
“None of the staff believe any of the accusations,” the person said.
“They still believe in Herman. They’re getting a lot of messages of support.”
Campaign officials were particularly irked by the statement from Cain’s lawyer, Lin Wood, which appeared to confirm the allegation of the affair with White.
“That was not approved by the campaign, and they did not like that,” the person said.
Jason Horowitz contributed to this report from Iowa.