Herman Cain, who is scheduled to consult with his wife this evening about infidelity allegations that have dogged his campaign, said today that he will make an announcement Saturday to “clarify” what his next steps will be.
It’ not clear whether Saturday’s announcement will put an end to the will-he-or-won’t-he wait on a decision whether to drop out of the presidential race. Cain originally said he would make that announcement on Monday.
“Tomorrow in Atlanta I will be making an announcement. But nobody’s gonna get me to make that prematurely,” Cain said at a town hall in South Carolina. “Tomorrow we will be opening our headquarters in northwest Georgia where we will also clarify – there’s that word again, clarify – exactly what the next steps are.”
Minutes before Cain made his comments, his spokesman JD Gordon told ABC News that Cain has no plans to announce the result of his “reassessment” Saturday, but that “things change hour by hour.” Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that he has invited his top supporters and donors to a meeting in Atlanta Saturday to tell them whether he plans to continue his campaign.
Cain has said he will make his decision based on what his wife, Gloria, says. The two will meet in person this evening for the first time since Atlanta businesswoman Ginger White came forward with allegations of a 13-year long affair with Cain.
With his chances for winning the GOP nomination sliding by the day, Cain’s team today launched a “ Women for Cain” campaign, chaired by his wife, in what appears to be a last-ditch effort to salvage his candidacy.
Unlike other candidates’ spouses, Cain’s wife of 43 years has rarely been seen on the campaign trail. The only time she publicly appeared by his side was when he announced his candidacy in May, in a Fox News interview to defend her husband against allegations of sexual harassment, and then at a Thanksgiving forum in Des Moines.
But today, the embattled candidate’s campaign announced that she’s heading a “Women for Cain” campaign, described on its Web site as “an online national fellowship of women dedicated to helping elect Herman Cain as the next President of the United States.”
The Web site features testimonials from women around the country touting Cain and his policies and assailing White, who says she had a 13-year long “on-and-off” affair with Cain.
There is, however, no testimonial from or video of Cain’s wife, except this reference: “Gloria Cain is the National Chairperson for ‘Women for Cain’ and is the very special woman who Mr. Cain devoted his life to many years ago.”
The campaign’s effort to highlight female support comes at a time when Cain’s popularity among female voters has tumbled amid claims of sexual harassment and an extramarital affair.
Cain’s overall standing in the polls has also sunk. Only 8 percent of Iowa Republicans said in a Des Moines Register poll that they would vote for the former businessman, a steep decline from the 23 percent support he garnered as recently as late October. The poll’s respondents also voted him as the candidate most likely to have a scandal in the White House.
As late as October, Cain was flying high in the polls. He received the highest support of any candidate, even frontrunner Mitt Romney, in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in October.
Gloria Cain, meanwhile, has been thrust into the national spotlight despite her desire to stay out of the public eye. The former teacher is undoubtedly upset at White’s claims of an affair. Herman Cain has denied the affair but also acknowledged that his wife didn’t know about his friendship with White and that he paid her a monthly sum for bills and other expenses.
“My wife did not know about it, and that was the revelation. My wife found out about it when she went public with it,” Cain told the Manchester Union-Leader Thursday. She also “did not know we were friends until she [White] came out with this story.
As for the more than 70 text messages that were sent back and forth between Cain and White, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza said it was all business, no pleasure.
White was “asking for financial assistance because she was out of work, had trouble paying her bills and I had known her as a friend,” he said. “She wasn’t the only friend who I had helped in these tough economic times, and so her messages to me were relating to ‘needed money for her rent’ or whatever the case may be. I don’t remember all the specifics.”
He continues to insist that his wife, who he said he has spoken to over the phone about White’s allegations, is behind him fully.
“My wife told me again today she loves me. It’s not that she is doubting me,” Cain said on Fox News Thursday. “It’s that all the media frenzy and all of the speculation and all of the twisting and the turning that never stops, it takes a toll on your family and that’s my No. 1 priority.”
Gloria Cain hasn’t publicly addressed White’s allegations.
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl and Susan Archer contributed to this report.