Ginger White went national hours ago when faced with a stern George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The anchor did his job asking tough questions. And the woman baring details of an “on and off” dalliance with Herman Cain over the past “13 or 14 years” did a good job of making her case. Folks who want to discredit her because of her past legal battles and messy finances ignore a key element to this story. White would not have come forward had the media not been tipped off to her existence.

“We received a phone tip from someone who knew Ginger White,” wrote Dale Russell, the Fox 5 Atlanta I-team reporter who introduced the nation to White two days ago. “That person claimed Ms. White was having an affair with Herman Cain. The tipster also called a number of other national media outlets who reached out to her. White told FOX 5, she felt trapped.” White told Russell, “I wanted to give my side, before it was thrown out there and made out to be something filthy. Some people will look at this and say that is exactly what it is. I’m sorry for that.”

White told Stephanopoulos today, “The media, they were calling my cellphone. They were calling my family members. And just up until last week, that was my last contact with Mr. Cain. And, you know, the thing is, I can’t imagine waking up one morning and deciding to come out with this if this were not true. This has been a very difficult situation for myself, for my family, and it is nothing I am proud of.”

And this is nothing Cain should be proud of. But in a letter to supporters last night, which Dave Weigel ran in full, Cain wrote:

As you probably heard yesterday, a troubled Atlanta business woman used national media outlets to promulgate a fabricated, unsubstantiated story about a 13 year affair with me.  I am writing you today to assure you that this woman’s story is completely false.

I do know Ms. White.  I have helped her financially at times over the past few years, just as I have helped many friends and acquaintances throughout the years. I thought Ms. White was a friend in need of a supportive hand to better her life.  

Ms. White has made it apparent that she was abusing the friendship.

As I noted yesterday, Cain can’t “Whitewash”the pickle he’s in. White presented Fox 5 with evidence of what can only be described as a friends-with-benefits relationship. (Although White made clear to Stephanopoulos that “This was not sex for cash.”)

She showed us some of her cellphone bills that included 61 phone calls or text messages to or from a number starting with 678. She says it is Herman Cain’s private cell phone. The calls were made during four different months — calls or texts made as early as 4:26 in the early morning, and as late as 7:52 at night. The latest were in September of this year.

“We’ve never worked together,” said White. “And I can’t imagine someone phoning or texting me for the last two and a half years, just because.”

We texted the number, and Herman Cain called us back. He told us he “knew Ginger White” but said these are “more false allegations.” He said she had his number because he was “trying to help her financially.”

Referencing the 61 phone calls in the Fox 5 report, Stephanopolous noted this morning that White presented him with even more evidence of cellphone contact between her and Cain. Contact that was made as late as Nov. 18. “Most strikingly,” Stephanopoulos said, “you just gave us earlier this morning phone records from October and November showing multiple texts back and forth between you and Mr. Cain. Just as these other stories about sexual harassment allegations are breaking in the press, he seems to be calling you in late October, on November 2nd, November 3rd, November 4th, November 5th, November 7th, November 8th, 13th, 14th and 18th. He’s texting you all month long and all this month.”

Let me repeat several questions I raised yesterday. Why did White, who was neither a relative nor a family friend, have Cain’s personal cell phone number? Why were they in communication as early as 4 a.m.? Why was Cain helping her financially?

“This is a trying time for my family, my campaign, and for me,” Cain wrote to his donor list asking for their “prayers and support.” He’s going to need them. As hard as this is to imagine, it’s only going to get worse.