Herman Cain Doesn’t Want to Be the Next Tim Pawlenty

An epic-length Morning Jolt is in the editors’ hands, laying out the details behind yesterday’s mysterious e-mail from Newt Gingrich, how Barney Frank is helping dash Nancy Pelosi’s dreams, and a few thoughts on what Republicans probably believe and what they ought to believe. And then, of course, there’s the other big news of the morning . . .

The Cain Train Wonders about Its Future Scheduled Stops

Our own Bob Costa wins the day with the big scoop:

“Obviously, you’re all aware of this recent firestorm that hit the news yesterday,” Cain began, his voice somber. “First thing I want to do is say to you what I have said publicly: I deny those charges, unequivocally. Secondly, I have known this lady for a number of years. And thirdly, I have been attempting to help her financially because she was out of work and destitute, desperate. So, thinking that she was a friend — and I have helped many friends — I now know that she wasn’t the friend that I thought she was. But it was a just a friendship relationship.”

“That being said, obviously, this is cause for reassessment,” he continued . . .

“Over the next several days, we are going to continue with the schedule as usual,” he said. “I’ve got a major speech tonight at Hillsdale College on national security and foreign policy, and I will deliver it with vim, vigor, and enthusiasm. And then tomorrow we’ve got some media appearances scheduled. So we’re going to continue until we complete our assessment over the next several days.”

My guess is that you won’t see a Cain departure from the race until A) he’s consistently polling in the low single digits or B) his contributions dry up and he can’t afford to continue, or both. You don’t run for president without ever having been elected to public office unless you are extremely optimistic about your ability to overcome long odds, and you don’t continue a presidential bid when a handful of your former coworkers have accused you of sexual harassment unless you are determined to soldier on amidst adversity. The amount of optimism required by Cain isn’t that much more than it was a few days ago.

Ace, writing at Ace of Spades: “My theory is that all of these guys are haunted by the Ghost of Tim Pawlenty, and most will be very reluctant to get out of the race until, say, Florida, or after. In a volatile race, you’re just one news cycle from being on top. Or being on the bottom. No one can really know. Cain might get out because there are other factors here (like just not wanting to deal with these questions, and strains on the home front), but as a general matter people are going to be very reluctant to formally drop out. Even no-hope candidates will keep a skeleton, ‘notional’ candidacy going, because, you never know. Campaigns may be suspended, but won’t be ended, and I don’t even think they’ll be announced as suspended. At least not until it’s well-nigh-inarguable that someone is really, definitely not going to have a swell of sudden support, and I don’t know how you would have that confidence.”

In response to some Cain defenders dismissing the latest accuser because of her financial troubles, the boss observes, “if there’s one thing I learned from spending a lot of time reviewing Bill Clinton’s career, it’s that women who get entangled with married men in this way usually aren’t pictures of probity.”

The Great Recession: A booming market for philanderers! No wonder Bill Clinton wrote a book about how the economy needs Obama to win another term!

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