Herman Cain, whose presidential campaign topped the polls in October only to crash in the face of allegations that he had a 13-year affair and sexually harassed several women in the 1990s, announced on Saturday that he would withdraw from the race.
Below is his announcement, made before several hundred supporters in Atlanta. A small portion of the beginning of his speech is missing.
Cain supporters are not warm-weather supporters. ... I can't thank all of you enough for what you've done, how far we have come, the things that we have done, and the things that we have been able to achieve.
The politicians in Washington, D.C., wouldn't do their job. That's why I chose to run. They have failed to provide economic growth. They have failed to get spending under control. They have failed to make us less dependent on foreign oil. These are some of the reasons that inspired me to run for president.
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And if you look at the last 40 years, we've seen that same kind of failure. It's just that the mess has gotten bigger. You were frustrated. I was frustrated. Millions of other people were frustrated, and it was out of that frustration that I made the decision to run, because the people in Washington, D.C., are either playing the blame game or pointing fingers or throwing crumbs to the American people rather than [proposing] bold solutions to fix the problems. America deserves more than that.
I thank you, and I am honored by the deep support of so many people across this country, because it expresses the frustration of so many people across this country.
I didn't fit the usual description of somebody that ought to be running for president. I had never held public office before. I didn't have high name ID -- right now, my name ID is probably 99.9 -- and I didn't have a patrillion dollars. But the force of the people is more powerful than the force of the media! Secondly, we have learned that message is more powerful than money.
And, you know, we proved something else. You see, I grew up in a world of segregated water fountains. ... We showed that you didn't have to have a degree from Harvard in order to run for president. We showed that you didn't have to have a political pedigree to run for president. And one of the biggest things that we have shown is that we the people are still in charge of this country.
And so today, we are one month away from the Iowa caucuses. With over 300 million Americans in our nation, we stand here, I stand here, because of you. And if you look at the top three Republican candidates right now, and you consider the president in the White House, we can say I'm in the final four. We're in the final four! And when you think of where I came from ... and now to be in the final four for the presidency? This is a great nation! That's why this nation is so great. And I tell you what, it's a powerful and humbling position to be in.
Proving this, that we could do this, was one of the greatest things, one of the greatest gifts that you and I could give to this country. I've often said one of America's greatest strengths is its ability to change, and we have created some significant change on this journey so far. I am proof of that and you are proof of that -- because I am proof that a common man could lead this nation; because I consider myself one of you, not one of them political elites. I'm one of you.
Our nation is tired of hearing the politicians blame each other. It's time for solutions. But as false accusations about me continue, they have sidetracked and distracted my ability to present solutions to the American people. Now, I have made mistakes in life. Everybody has. I've made mistakes professionally, personally, as a candidate in terms of how I run my campaign, and I take responsibility for the mistakes that I have made, and I have been the very first to own up to any mistakes that I've made. I handled it my way because that's the type of person that I am.
But because of these false and unproved accusations, it has paid and had a tremendous, painful price on my family. These false and unproved allegations continue to be spun in the media and in the court of public opinion so as to create a cloud of doubt over me and this campaign and my family. That spin hurts. It hurts my wife, it hurts my family, it hurts me and it hurts the American people because you are being denied solutions to our problems.
Here's why it hurts. Because my wife, my family and I -- we know that those false and unproved allegations are not true! ... I am at peace with my God. I am at peace with my wife. And she is at peace with me. And I am at peace with my family, and I am at peace with myself. This is one of the most important things.
Now, that being said, becoming president was Plan A. Before you get discouraged, today I want to describe Plan B. So as of today, with a lot of prayer and soul-searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign. I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distractions, the continued hurt caused on me and my family -- not because we are not fighters; not because I am not a fighter. It's just that when I went through this reassessment of the impact on my family first; the impact on you, my supporters -- your support has been unwavering and undying -- as well as the impact on the ability to continue the race, the necessary funds to be competitive, we had to come to this conclusion. We had to come to this conclusion that it would be best to suspend this campaign.
That's the bad news. Here's the good news. The pundits would like for me to shut up, drop out and go away. Well, as my grandmother who lived to be 104 years old used to say when somebody was dead wrong, bless their little hearts. I am not going to be silenced, and I am not going away! And as of today, Plan B. Plan B. And I call it the Cain solutions.com.
You see, there are three audiences out there, folks, that we have dealt with, that I have had to deal with. There's the media class, there's the political class and there's we the people. It is we the people that got us to this point, this far. It is we the people that wants change in Washington, D.C. It is we the people that are responsible for the massive movement that is going on across this country. I call it the citizens' movement, the Tea Party movement, the conservative movement.
Plan B is that I will continue to be a force for the people. That's why today we are launching TheCainSolutions.com, where the people will choose -- not the media, not the politicians -- and the people will show that the people are still in charge of this country. Through this new organization, I will still be promoting the biggest change, transfer of power out of Washington, D.C., back to the people since this nation began, and that is the 9-9-9 plan. It's not going away. I will still be actively supporting and promoting a foreign policy that starts with peace through strength and clarity. I will still be promoting actively an energy independence plan for America. We can and we will become energy-independent.
And I know that many of you are disappointed. I understand that. I know that many of you all are disappointed and I certainly understand that, and I am disappointed that it came to this point, that we had to make this decision. One of the reasons that I ran for president of the United States was so that I could change Washington, D.C., from the inside. Plan B is that we are going to have to change it from the outside. It'll take a little longer. We're going to have to work a little harder. But we will change it from the outside.
One other thing. I will be making an endorsement in the near future. I will be making an endorsement. And I can tell you right now, it will not be the current occupant of the White House. That will not be my endorsement.
America has learned something about this process of running for president. It's a dirty game. It's a dirty, dirty game. But I happen to believe that the American people are sick of this mess, and if I'm not the outsider in there, I happen to believe that the day will come when the American people will reject all of the distractions, all of the false accusations and unproved accusations, and it will make a change, because that's what we've got to do to get real change in this country and get it on the right track.
And as I think about my parents, who raised my brother and I right here in the Atlanta area, they taught us three very valuable lessons: belief in God, belief in ourselves and belief in the greatest country in the world, the United States of America. And even though I have had to suspend my campaign, I have not given up on America, and here's why. Because look at our history. When we have been challenged the most is when we the people have risen to the occasion the most. And I happen to believe that we will do it again, because we the people are still in charge of this country.
Let me leave you with this. I believe these words came from the Pokemon movie. The media pointed that out. I'm not sure who the original author is, so don't go write an article about it, but it says a lot about where I am, where I am with my wife and my family, and where we are as a nation.
Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible. It's never easy when there's so much on the line. But you and I can make a difference. There's a mission just for you and me. Just look inside and you will find just what you can do. Just look inside and you will find just what you can do.
I've had to look inside to find what I can do, and here's what I can do. Here's what we can do. We can put united back into the United States of America and move the shining city on a hill back to the top of the hilltop where it belongs, and I will never apologize for the greatness of the United States of America. God bless you, thank you, and I love you.