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Cain campaign hinges on wife's say

Republican presidential contender Herman Cain has ploughed ahead amid mounting allegations of sexual misconduct including an extramarital affair.

However he acknowledged the toll of the allegations was rising and said he would decide by next week whether to drop out of the Republican race after talking in person to his wife.

Mr Cain spent a month battling several sexual harassment accusations, which took a toll on both his standing in polls and, supporters say, his fundraising.

The latest furore came on Monday when businesswoman Ginger White, 46, said she and Mr Cain had maintained a consensual sexual relationship spanning more than a decade and ending this year before he became a candidate.

In an interview with Fox News, Mr Cain said the controversy had taken an "emotional toll" on his wife and that he would exit the race if the price of continuing proved too high. "I've got to think about my family first, especially my wife," Mr Cain said. "This is why we are reassessing."

Prominent conservatives who rushed to his defence when the first allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour surfaced were all but silent after the affair accusation.

The turmoil comes just five weeks before the first votes are cast in the state-by-state march to the nomination.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been the beneficiary - in polls, at least - of Mr Cain's slide in the month since it was disclosed that the National Restaurant Association paid settlements to two women who claimed Mr Cain sexually harassed them while he was president of the organisation.

A third woman said Mr Cain made inappropriate sexual advances but that she did not file a complaint. A fourth woman also stepped forward to accuse Mr Cain of groping her in a car in 1997.

Mr Cain said on Wednesday that he would exit the race if the latest allegations proved too damaging and he would make a decision by the middle of next week at the latest. He has denied all wrongdoing.

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