On third endorsement, Cain backs Romney

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - 3:47pm

Herman Cain, who suspended his own bid for the GOP presidential nomination amid a flurry of allegations of past sexual impropriety, backed Mitt Romney Wednesday - his third endorsement after dropping out of the race.

Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather's Pizza, held an endorsement event in Washington, D.C., where he was flanked by Rep. Michele Bachmann, herself a former presidential candidate, and Rep. Steve King of Iowa.

"I know that there are a lot of people who may not be as excited as some of us about the process or as excited about the ultimate nominee, so why am I willing to officially endorse him along with most of the other Republican candidates? It's real simple. Governor Romney gets it right on the big issues. President Obama gets it wrong on all of the big issues. That's why we have got to have a different occupant of the White House," Cain said at the event.

In January, after teasing an "unconventional endorsement" in the GOP presidential race, Cain came out in support of "the people," saying it was the beginning of a political revolution.

"My unconventional endorsement is 'The People!" Cain said in a speech in South Carolina. "We the people are still in charge. That's who I'm endorsing. We're going to have to lead this revolution. We have to take our power back. I'm endorsing the people. The people who started this country."

Later in January, Cain announced he was endorsing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich ahead of Florida's closely watched GOP primary. At the time, Cain praised Gingrich's "bold ideas" as the basis for his choice, saying Gingrich wasn't afraid to propose big ideas that would benefit the nation, even if they invited the ridicule of his rivals.

He explained in an interview on CNN his choice of Gingrich was based, in part, on the candidate's embrace of his 9-9-9 tax plan.

"When you find a candidate that basically is running still on the ideas and the ideologies that I was running on, along with him embracing 9-9-9, then it was a no-brainer and I thought that the timing was right," Cain said.

At his event Monday, Cain explained his past endorsements, taking a veiled shot at President Obama's explanation for his change in position of same-sex marriage.

"My endorsement evolved," Cain said. "Early in the process is one thing, but as we converged toward the convention, what we did earlier isn't as relevant. It wasn't a matter of changing my mind."

He added, "Now that the process is winding down, I felt it fitting to offer a formal endorsement because I have been consistent throughout my participation in the process and that is that I would endorse the ultimate nominee."

Cain attracted attention and followers for aggressively promoting his "9-9-9" tax plan, as well as for his charismatic personality and appeal among tea party activists. He enjoyed a spike in Republican primary polls last fall, but when he dropped out of the race in December polls showed him toward the back of the pack of candidates.

Cain ended his bid for the 2012 GOP nomination after battling allegations of an affair and of past sexual harassment episodes, which was alleged to have taken place during his tenure as president of the National Restaurant Association. Cain consistently denied any wrongdoing.

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