WASHINGTON — Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain faced new allegations Monday concerning his conduct with women, this time from an Atlanta woman who claimed that they had a 13-year affair.
In an interview Monday night, Ginger White told WAGA, the Fox News outlet in Atlanta: "It was pretty simple. It wasn't complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate relationship."
Even before her interview aired, Cain took the offensive. He quickly went on CNN to talk about the impending allegations and to deny them.
"No," the former Godfather's Pizza executive said adamantly, when asked whether he had had an affair with White.
"This individual is going to accuse me of an affair for an extended period of time," Cain said. "It is someone that I know who is an acquaintance that I thought was a friend."
Cain said that he would wait until he heard White's story before reacting further, but he said that he had nothing to hide. Cain also said that he was more concerned about the impact of the allegations on his family than on his campaign.
"I can take the lumps," he told CNN.
Cain insisted that he would not drop out of the campaign: "As long as my wife believes that I should stay in this race, I'm staying in this race."
Cain's attorney, Lin Wood, said in a statement: "This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace — this is not an accusation of an assault — which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate. Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults — a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public."
Cain's campaign has been struggling in recent weeks after a sudden vault that lifted him briefly to the top of the Republican field. He is a charismatic speaker and Republican voters said they liked his plainspoken attitude.
But two women accused him of sexual harassment, and his reaction to their claims was halting and complicated by conflicting explanations.
Cain has also found himself under scrutiny recently for offering confusing answers to questions on foreign policy. His standing has dipped, but he remains a top-tier candidate.
Still, the GOP presidential contest has been a changing parade of contenders to fill the role of conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor engenders little love among the party's conservative base, and it has been casting about for another option.
With Iowa's caucuses looming in five weeks, the anti-Romney Republicans have lately rallied behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
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