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Gingrich: Cain accusations don't mean he's "dead"


UPDATED 2:22 p.m. ET

Newt Gingrich empathized with opponent Herman Cain Tuesday, telling CBS News' Nancy Cordes that allegations of sexual harassment and an extra-marital affair don't necessarily mean the end of Cain's candidacy.

"Remember I was supposed to be dead in June and July. I am not going to go around declaring anybody else dead," Gingrich said in an interview with CBS News in South Carolina.

"I think any candidate has the right to try to recover. They have the right to to try to get back in the game," added Gingrich.

Cain is reassessing whether to stay in the race after a woman claimed she had a 13-year relationship with Cain on Monday.

Cain would not be the first presidential candidate to survive accusations of marital infidelity. President Bill Clinton famously survived accusations of an affair with Gennifer Flowers in his 1992 campaign for the White House. And Clinton was re-elected in 1996 after Paula Jones accused him in 1994 of sexual harassment

Gingrich himself has had to deflect accusations of his own moral shortcomings. His current wife, Callista, is a former congressional staffer with whom he had an affair while still married to his second wife.

"I like Herman Cain personally. We've known each other for many years," Gingrich said. "I think it must be very painful to go through what he's going through right now."

Gingrich spoke with CBS News in key primary state South Carolina, where he is currently leading in polls.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, another Republican presidential candidate, said Tuesday that the people around her believe Cain is "done" in the wake of the affair claim.

"Everyone has said to me yesterday - when it came out yesterday, everyone said this is it, he's done," she said on the Scott Hennen radio show. "People just don't see that there is an ability for him to be able to come back after that."

Watch an excerpt of Cordes' interview with Gingrich at left. More from the interview will appear on Tuesday's "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley."