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How Herman Cain benefits from dropping out: Money and political power

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David Goldman/AP

(Read caption) Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain bows to the crowd during his announcement Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, at a campaign event in Atlanta. Cain said he is "suspending" his campaign because of the "continued distraction" of charges of personal misconduct involving women other than his wife.

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Saturday no doubt was unsettling and upsetting for Herman Cain. Dropping out of a presidential run under an ethical cloud can’t be fun.

But Cain’s “suspending” his campaign is likely to give him two very valuable things: More money and (at least temporary) political power.

The political power comes with his announcement that he’ll be endorsing one of the other Republican candidates “in the near future.”

It’s not just his enthusiastic followers that’ll be paying attention to the one he throws his arm around. There are those major campaign contributors, some of whom Cain huddled with just before making his big announcement Saturday. Presumably, their money will now go elsewhere among the GOP hopefuls.

The others in the race were tweet-quick to say nice things about Cain just minutes later.

“Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan got our country talking about the critical issue of tax reform, and he elevated the dialogue of the primary,” Newt Gingrich tweeted. “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.”
 
 (Much of the smart money is on Gingrich getting Cain’s endorsement. They really are friends – both from Georgia – and it’s always good to get on the bandwagon of someone on the political ascent, which is Gingrich’s current status among political insiders and pundits.)

“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,” Jon Huntsman said in a press release. “I understand his decision and wish him and his family the best.”

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