By Erik Wasson
Herman Cain's former Republican presidential rivals immediately offered praise for Cain after the embattled pizza mogul bowed out of the 2012 race.
Cain, who succumbed to allegations of a 13-year sexual affair and of sexual harassment, said Saturday that he would endorse another GOP candidate “in the near future.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a fellow Georgian, tweeted praise for Cain.
"I am proud to know Herman Cain and consider him a friend and I know he will continue to be a powerful voice for years to come," Gingrich said. "Herman Cain’s 999 plan got our country talking about the critical issue of tax reform and he elevated the dialogue of the primary."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who was leading in the polls until the recent Gingrich revival began, also offered measured praise.
"Herman's campaign was one of ideas," Romney said. "His decision was based on what is best for him and his family."
"Herman Cain provided an important voice to this process," Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), the head of the House Tea Party caucus, said in a statement. "His ideas and energy generated tremendous enthusiasm for the conservative movement at a time it was so desperately needed to restore confidence in our country."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is far down in the polls said "I know this was a difficult decision for Herman Cain, his family and his supporters. He helped invigorate conservative voters and our nation with a discussion of major tax reform."
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said “Herman Cain brought energy and enthusiasm to the Republican nominating process, as well as a unique perspective on many domestic issues important to voters such as tax code reform and a pro-growth agenda favorable to the private sector.
And former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said, "Herman Cain offered a unique and valuable voice to the debate over how to reform our country's uncompetitive tax code and turn around the economy."