Discuss as:

Cain gave affair accuser money without wife's consent

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Herman Cain said Thursday that he repeatedly gave money without his wife's knowledge to Ginger White, the Atlanta woman who alleged carrying on an affair with Cain for 13 years.

In an editorial interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO said Mrs. Cain "did not know that we were friends until [White] came out with this story" and he regrets not telling her sooner. Cain acknowledged sending White money for "month-to-month bills and expenses."

Cain said that White sent him about 70 text messages in which, he said, she seemed economically troubled. "She was out of work and had trouble paying her bills and I had known her as a friend," he said. Cain would not elaborate as to how much he gave her.

Cain justified his described behavior as nothing out of the ordinary, saying, "I'm a soft-hearted person when it comes to that stuff. I have helped members of my church. I have helped members of my family."

The newspaper interview had been rescheduled after a scheduling mishap last month that caused Cain to miss a meeting with the influential paper's editors. Since then, the paper endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the GOP presidential primary.

In an exclusive interview, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell talks to Ginger White, the woman who claims to have had a 13-year relationship with Herman Cain. She says the presidential candidate gave her cash payments during their alleged sexual affair. But, she says she didn't take any money to tell her side of the story.

Both before and after his interview with the Union Leader today, Cain said that his campaign remains in a state of flux. He will move forward with a "reassessment" this weekend and make a final decision soon.

"I will say something formal over the next several days," he told reporters.

In campaign stops in Ohio and New Hampshire yesterday, Cain said he would be spending the next several days contemplating where his campaign goes from here.  Last night at his state headquarters in New Hampshire headquarters, he told reporters that no decision could be made until he has a face-to-face conversation with his wife.

And while Cain defiantly brushed off any notion he would end his bid for the presidency during campaign rallies yesterday, he was noticeably more measured when taking questions from reporters.

When asked by NBC News if will return to the Granite State, Cain was uncertain, "Well probably, yes. But remember the reassessment." Tonight, he gives a speech Tennessee. Cain will return to Atlanta Friday evening where  his wife resides.