ATLANTA, Ga. - Herman Cain, whose campaign could use some redemption in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, told a crowd of young Republicans on Saturday that God convinced him to run for president and that he "prayed and prayed and prayed" about it.
The Republican contender made no mention of the allegations from former subordinates at the National Restaurant Association. But his comments here were accented with more than the usual references to his faith and his calling to politics.
"I prayed and prayed and prayed. I'm a man of faith, I had to do a lot of praying for this one, more praying than I'd ever done before in my life," Cain told a crowd of more than 100 at the Young Republican National Federation, an event hosted by the Georgia Young Republicans at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. "And when I finally realized that it was God saying that this is what I needed to do, I was like Moses: 'You've got the wrong man, Lord. Are you sure?'"
Once he made the decision to run, the former chief executive of Godfather's Pizza said, "I did not look back. And one of the misperceptions that some people have (is) that I'm not in this to win it. I'm in this to win it, or I wouldn't be in it! I'm not going anywhere!"
Cain has repeatedly said in recent days he will stay in the race in spite of the swirl of accusations that have tarnished his campaign and halted his upward momentum in national polls. Four women who worked at the NRA claim that Cain sexually harassed them, and one of them, Sharon Bialek of Chicago, said he roughly grabbed her in a parked car in 1997 and propositioned her for sex.
With a Republican debate focused on foreign policy on tap for Saturday evening, Cain talked about the need to replace a "foggy foreign policy" with a reincarnation of the Reagan doctrine of "peace through strength and clarity." He also said he would "stop giving money to our enemies."
The debate among the eight major Republican candidates is at 8 p.m. and is hosted by National Journal and CBS News.