Cain slams accusers for trying to 'bring me down' with 'character assassination'

Herman Cain argued that plans to "reassess" his campaign in light of new allegations of an extended extramarital affair meant simply that the candidate might shift campaign strategies, and accused detractors of "character assassination" in an impassioned speech Wednesday in Cleveland.

Cain told an audience that "stupid people are running America" and that he had no plans to leave the race as he attempts to bounce back from another tough blow to his once leading campaign.

"They’re attacking my character, my reputation and my name in order to try and bring me down, but you see I don’t believe that America is going to let that happen,” Cain said Wednesday morning in Cleveland, according to ABC News. “I happen to believe that we the people are still in charge of this country.”

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Earlier in the speech, Cain said he has received "a groundswell of positive support,” and argued that his "reassessment" would involve a possible shift in campaign strategy rather than an exit from the race.

He elaborated on that point to the Hillsdale Collegian, the student newspaper of Michigan's Hillsdale College, where he gave a foreign policy address Tuesday night.

"There's another option," Cain said. "Modify the strategy, modify the campaign. Stay in, but with a modified strategy given everything that's going on."

Cain argued that the campaign might be better served by shifting its focus.

"We have had an early state strategy and a national strategy going on simultaneously," he said. "But because of all the controversy, we are reconsidering. Do we do both?"

"That's the reassessment that we are doing — reassessing the strategy."

But despite the campaign's insistence that Cain plans to "plow ahead" with the Republican race, more signs are emerging that Cain might be faltering.

Cindy Adams, the New York Post's gossip columnist, said that a dinner she had planned for the candidate with some of the city's elite media figures — including Matt Lauer, Barbara Walters, Lesley Stahl and Bill O'Reilly — had been canceled after allegations emerged.

"Yesterday morning it was his call to cancel. He was considerate. He contemplated my enduring the trouble, expense and bother of it all if he had to pull out," Adams wrote. "Is he feeling down? Yes. Is he taking Out There’s temperature? Yes. Talking to staffers? For sure. Figuring what to do? Yeah. Hearing suggestions he come clean if there’s any clean to come to? Uh-huh."

Ginger White, the Atlanta businesswoman who claims to have had the affair with Cain, continued a string of media appearances, sitting down Wednesday morning with "Good Morning America."

White told the morning show that she and Cain traveled to Las Vegas together for the 1997 boxing match in which Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s ear, and said that she did not believe Cain "would make a good president."

Still, Cain told Adams that "so far" he planned to maintain his public schedule for the upcoming week, and Cain's campaign manager Mark Block told ABC News that there was "no way he was dropping out."

Cain also sent an email to supporters Tuesday night urging them to "Stand With Me" and donate to the campaign. In the email, Cain denies the affair and accuses White of lying.

"But now I am asking for your friendship. I am also asking for your prayers and support. This is a trying time for my family, my campaign, and for me," Cain said in the email. "It is also a trying time for our country as we are all distracted from the truly important issues facing our nation."

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