By Justin Sink - 11/28/11 10:26 PM EST
Herman Cain on Monday denied accusations of an extramarital affair, the latest in a string of allegations of sexual impropriety that have dogged the Republican presidential candidate.
Ginger White, an Atlanta businesswoman, claimed that she and Cain had engaged in a 13-year-long affair during which Cain would fly her across the country and lavish her with gifts and expensive dinners.
White, however, told Fox 5 Atlanta she and Cain were engaged in an ongoing affair for a significant amount of time, and that she was aware Cain was married.
“It was pretty simple,” White said. “It wasn't complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship.”
White provided the television station with phone records that show dozens of phone calls and text messages between her and Cain's private cellphone, including some made as late as 4:26 a.m. The latest of the correspondences came just two months ago, although White says the physical part of their relationship concluded about eight months ago, when Cain declared his candidacy.
“He made it very intriguing,” White said of the affair. “It was fun. It was something that took me away from my humdrum life at the time. And it was exciting.”
The former Godfather's Pizza CEO said that while he has known White for more than a decade, they never had an affair. Asked repeatedly by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer whether he had any romantic relationship with the woman or if she would be able to produce evidence of a relationship, Cain repeatedly answered no.
"I'm not at liberty to respond to something … until I know exactly what the claims are," Cain said.
Cain implied that White was a professional friend who did not know his family, but that they had not previously worked together. Cain also said he has been "trying to help" White find a job and aided her financially.
In her interview with the Fox affiliate, White admitted to being unemployed, and to having been subjected to a restraining order from a former business partner who alleged that White sent threatening text messages.
Sharon Bialek, one of two women to publicly accuse Cain of sexual harassment, said Cain made inappropriate advances after she met with him to discuss career advice.
Bialek said Cain groped her and said, "You want a job, don't you?"
But White said that Cain never harassed her or made unwanted advances or suggestions.
“Very much confident, very much sure of himself,” White told Fox 5 Atlanta, describing Cain. “Very arrogant in a playful sometimes way. Very, ah — Herman Cain loves Herman Cain.”
White also said she was bothered by the way Cain denied sexual harassment claims by his other accusers.
“It bothered me that they were being demonized, sort of, they were treated as if they were automatically lying, and the burden of proof was on them,” White said. “I felt bad for them.”
She also denied having ulterior motives for coming forward, saying she only did so because of media scrutiny.
“I'm not proud,” White said. “I didn't want to come out with this. I did not.”
Cain's attorney, Lin Wood, dismissed the comparison between White and Bialek in a statement released to Fox 5 Atlanta on Monday, but did not deny the affair took place.
"This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace — this is not an accusation of an assault — which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate," Wood said. "Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults — a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public's right to know and the media's right to report has boundaries, and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one's bedroom door."
Cain said that all of the claims were "baseless" and that the new allegations were a signal that "somebody's awfully afraid" of his campaign.
In a statement released late Monday, Cain accused "detractors" of "trying once again to derail the Cain Train with more accusations of past events that never happened."
“I have spoken directly to the American people and have been 100 percent honest with them," Cain said.
But the candidate signaled that he would not continue to address the allegations beyond his initial denial.
"I will not fight false claims, as it is not what America needs or wants,” Cain said.
Cain's campaign has been in a freefall since numerous sexual harassment claims surfaced earlier this month. After once leading the Republican presidential race, Cain has slipped to third in most national polls, with support continuing to slide.
Cain said that he would not consider dropping out of the Republican race, despite the latest round of allegations.
"As long as my wife is behind me, I'm staying in this race," he said on CNN. "If I drop out because of this kind of mess … the system wins."
Cain acknowledged having spoken to his wife about the latest accusations, and described her as supportive.
"My wife's reaction was very similar to mine — ‘Here we go again,’ ” Cain said.
The candidate also dismissed questions about whether the mounting number of accusations validated them, saying he simply had met too many people over his life as a businessman.
"There's probably an infinite number of people who could come forward with a story," Cain said.
Cain concluded the interview by saying that he planned to spend the evening having "a nice steak dinner, because [I've] done nothing wrong."
— This story was last updated at 6:58 p.m.