A prominent Tea Party leader is calling for Herman Cain to drop out of the presidential race.
Judson Phillips, the head of Tea Party Nation, slammed Cain's response to accusations that he had sexually harassed a number of women during the 1990s.
"Herman Cain has got to go," Judson said in an email to Tea Party Nation members. "I do not believe Cain’s accusers. There are too many questions about them. The allegations are not why Cain should leave. The campaign’s response is why he should now withdraw."
Phillips said he still liked Cain personally but that his campaign's failure to prepare for the story even though they knew about it a week before it broke showed that he was not ready to be president.
"Ten days in, the Cain campaign is still stumbling around like newly castrated cattle. [Campaign manager] Mark Block should have been gone nine days ago. Cain should have a competent team in place by now as well as someone really good at crisis management. So far, it is not there," Phillips continued.
"If Cain cannot run his own campaign, how is he going to run the country? A few days ago, I would have been willing to accept Cain as the nominee. Cain was not my first choice but I could have easily supported him. No longer."
Last week, Phillips criticized Cain's response but described the emerging story around him as a "hatchet job." He said then that rival Newt Gingrich was his first choice for the nomination but that Cain was a close second.
His criticism of Cain's response is the latest to come from conservative pundits, but the first to explicitly call for Cain to end his campaign. Many others, including former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo)., a Cain supporter, conservative blogger Ed Morrissey and Karl Rove all criticized how Cain had handled the situation, and some are calling for Cain to fire his campaign manager.
Tea Party Nation is not one of the largest Tea Party groups, and Phillips pointed out that in an internal survey of members more than four in five thought Cain should stay in the race. But if even those who were once open to backing Cain are calling for him to leave the race, the candidate is in major trouble.