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US Republican Cain heads home for 'kitchen summit'

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 2 Dec 2011 17:00 GMT
Author: Reuters
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By Ros Krasny

WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain heads home from the campaign trail to Atlanta on Friday for an unconventional strategy meeting that could decide the fate of his White House bid - with his wife.

The one-time front-runner has been rocked by allegations this week of a long-term extra-marital affair, on top of recent claims of sexual harassment by four women.

The former pizza company executive, 65, will be face to face with his wife, Gloria, for the first time since Ginger White of Atlanta on Monday revealed a 13-year, on-and-off relationship with Cain that started in the mid-1990s.

Cain has said he will "reassess" his candidacy, with a decision likely by Monday of next week, and that he would drop out of the race if his wife asked him to.

"I will put her first. But she is not the type to say 'You ought to get out,'" he said in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader on Thursday.

Cain also told the newspaper his wife of 43 years knew nothing about his involvement with, and financial support for, White. He has maintained the pair were just friends.

White, 45, spoke about the relationship on MSNBC on Thursday, saying they did not have a "love affair."

"It was a sexual affair, as hard as that is for me to say and as hard as it is for people to hear it. You know, it pretty much is what it is. And that's what it was," she said.

White apologized to Cain's wife:

"My heart bleeds for this woman because I am a woman and being in a situation like this cannot be fun," she said. "And I am deeply, deeply sorry if I have caused any hurt to her and to his kids, to his family. That was not my intention."

Cain is still scheduled to host a "grand opening" of his Georgia campaign headquarters on Saturday.

The candidate, who led the Republican race barely more than a month ago, has slipped in polls after White's revelation, the sexual harassment claims, and recent stumbles on the campaign trail.

He raised alarm among conservatives with confusing comments about abortion, and badly fumbled a question on Libya policy in a televised interview.

Cain's campaign e-mailed a fresh fund-raising appeal on Friday, saying "the only way we can gauge true support is by the willingness of our supporters to invest in this effort."

And a new "Women for Cain" website was launched, saying Cain "has been a strong advocate for women throughout his lifetime." (Editing by Todd Eastham)

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