November 29th, 2011
07:48 PM ET

Letters to the President #1044: 'When should candidates throw in the towel'

Reporter's Note: I write a letter to President Obama every day. My mother is somewhat jealous. I may need to address that.

Dear Mr. President,

The situation is looking pretty grim for Republican challenger Herman Cain lately. Between the accusations of those various women and his stumbles on some questions (Sure, he is welcome to his opinion on issues such as immigration, but looking like you don’t know that China already has nuclear weapons can’t spur a lot of confidence even among your supporters) he has that ragged look of a candidate who is about to throw in the towel.

I’m not saying he will, because certainly I’ve seen contenders rally from much worse circumstances, but like I said, his position doesn’t look good at the moment.

I often wonder how all the rest of your politicos feel when you see something like this happening. I’m sure on one hand that you are delighted. If a member of the opposition strays onto rough ground, arguably he hauls at least a little of his party’s reputation with him and everyone on his side of the aisle takes a beating. Then again, there must be some of the “there but for the grace of God” emotion as well.

Truth be told, the world is so complicated now, and politics if so fraught with minefields, I can imagine almost anyone stumbling into bad territory if he or she happens to take just the right steps at just the wrong moments. (Ok, so Cain’s had more than his fair share of missteps in recent weeks, and perhaps he should have settled down his campaign by this point.)

I suppose the test should not be rather any politico gets into trouble, but rather: Does the preponderance of evidence support that idea that the “mistakes” are his actual nature…not an anomaly? And if that is the case, well then, I guess a lot of Americans might want such a contender out of the race.

Hope all is well. Call if you can. Hey, did you see my Saints last night? Excellent win.


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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1 • Tom Foreman
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