By Justin Sink
Herman Cain said he will decide within a week whether to remain in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and plans to consult with family this weekend after allegations of an extramarital affair surfaced earlier this week.
"A week from now I will have made a final decision," Cain said on Fox News Wednesday afternoon.
In the interview, Cain said "obviously my wife was very disappointed and hurt" by the allegations.
Cain said as he was considering whether to remain in the race, his top priority would be the sentiments of his family, followed by whether or not voters and donors were sticking with the campaign.
"This is a decision I have to make based on the feedback from my family and the people I talk to," Cain said.
Cain also downplayed phone records provided by Ginger White that showed the candidate contacting her 61 times by phone and text message earlier this year, including some calls late into the night and early in the morning.
He said his campaign had requested a copy of the records, and that White's claims didn't "tell you the whole story."
"If she was texting me at 4, 5 in the morning for help in paying her rent, making her car note, that doesn't mean I was calling her," Cain said. "[…] All it says is 61 calls, I talked to a lot of people 61 times."
Cain also said that it was not unusual that he provided White with cash over the course of their relationship.
"Over the years, because I have been successful, I have helped many people financially ... I have helped many people to stay in their homes, to buy groceries directly, not through an organization," Cain said.
Cain further disputed White's account, noting that for part of the time he was allegedly engaged in the affair, he suffered from advanced cancer.
"In 2006, I had cancer for a year. So I wasn't having an affair with anybody," Cain said.
Asked by Fox News host Neil Cavuto to speculate why so many women had come forward with accusations of sexual impropriety, Cain said that he could "only conjecture that I am the Democrat's worst nightmare if I were to win the nomination."
At one point, Cain said that the allegations may have surfaced because liberal campaign operatives were worried about President Obama's reelection chances against a hypothetical Cain candidacy. Instead, Cain said, Democrats hoped former Speaker Newt Gingrich would win the nomination so that they could attack his admitted personal issues, including two divorces and admitted infidelity.
"There's another possibility here — maybe the Democrats want Newt Gingrich to win the nomination so that they can go after his personal life, so they need to knock me out now," Cain said.
"Once I moved into that top tier, I think they became a little threatened ... my star was rising too fast."
The interview capped another day on the campaign trail lost to questions about personal issues and Cain's status in the race. Earlier Wednesday, campaign manager Mark Block assured ABC News that there was "no way he's quitting," while Cain told a crowd at an Ohio rally that he was "going to be president." But after that speech, Cain told CNN that he was still considering whether to drop out, and reports surfaced that Cain had canceled a planned dinner this weekend with influential New York media figures.
Cain said on Fox that he canceled the dinner to spend time with his family discussing the allegations and whether to stay in the race.
"I canceled, and it was my decision, because I wanted to spend some time getting back home so I could spend some time with my wife and my family reassessing the situation," Cain said.
Cain also sidestepped calls from prominent Republicans — including fellow candidates Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman, along with Tea Party congressman Allen West (R-Fla.) — who have argued that his candidacy has become a distraction to the campaign.
"I respect that… but Herman Cain has to make this decision with his family and his staff," Cain said.
Cain also sounded optimistic about his chances if he was able to put the scandal behind him, arguing voters were unconcerned about a series of foreign policy gaffes that have also dogged his efforts.
"You know that I'm the type of person who learns from his mistakes… I'm a work in progress and I'm learning as I go," Cain said. "I have done my homework on foreign policy, national security… I'm getting better at it, I'm becoming more knowledgeable."
And while Cain acknowledged that his campaign has seen a major dropoff in fundraising dollars, he claimed that he had a number of large donors ready to stand behind him. The campaign released a new online advertisement emphasizing Cain's record on jobs shortly after the interview.
Cain will travel to New Hampshire late Wednesday, where he has a series of campaign events planned for Thursday.