Cain said the onslaught of accusations of sexual harassment and marital infidelity has caused too much of a strain on his marriage and that after discussing it with his wife, Gloria, they agreed it was time to focus on their family.
“As of today with a lot off prayer and soul searching I am suspending my presidential campaign," Cain said, his wife standing behind him. "Because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family, not because we’re not fighters.
But Cain said he "will not be silenced and I'm not going away."
Cain said he's on to "Plan B," which revolves around a website where he will continue to push for solutions to the country's problems.
Cain said he was inspired to run because "politicians in Washington" had failed the country. "The mess has just gotten bigger," he said. "You were frustrated, I was frustrated. It was out of that frustration I made the decision to run."
A crowd of more than 300 supporters had gathered on a brisk autumn morning in the parking lot of what was to be his new Atlanta headquarters in north DeKalb County.
For hours before Cain arrived, they milled about, waving signs, eating barbecue and expressing hope that Cain would stay in the race.
But, to the surprise of few in the political world, Cain said his campaign is over.
After a meteoric rise in the polls following a surprise win in a Florida straw poll in late September, Cain enjoyed a month of front-runner status in the race for the GOP nomination.
But after a series of women came forward to say he made unwanted sexual advances, his standing in the race began to crumble.
Several hundred Cain supporters -- and dozens of reporters -- stood outside the Republican presidential hopeful's new office in north DeKalb County on Saturday, waiting to hear whether he will stay in the race.
At 1 p.m., Cain's motorcade of Secret Service SUVs arrived at the headquarters from his Henry County home to cheers. An announcer said he was accompanied by his wife, Gloria.
A massive sign, covered with a tarp, was placed behind the podium, leading many to speculate about what message it features: A thank you? A goodbye? A "full steam ahead" vow?
For days, ever since Cain announced he would return to Atlanta to discuss his campaign's future with his wife, Gloria, speculation has been rampant that he's dropping out of the race on the heels of another allegation of sexual misconduct.
Since Ginger White's bombshell allegation that she and Cain maintained a 13-year relationship, Cain's campaign has been besieged and his poll numbers have cratered.
Cain has denied that he had an extramarital affair with White, a Dunwoody businesswoman, and said earlier allegations of sexual harassment were also baseless. But the volume of accusations led him to say he would talk to his wife and make a decision whether to continue with the campaign.
Saturday's event was supposed to be a rally and open house for his new Atlanta office on DeKalb Technology Parkway. All signs on the ground here point to that still happening.
At the campaign headquarters, Williamson Brothers was selling barbecue, loudspeakers were blaring and supporters were waving signs and flags.
Still, while there's a rally atmosphere here, supporters appear resigned to the campaign's fate.
Jim Rosser of Brookhaven said he came to the event to see Cain discuss his decision in person. He said the flow of allegations needed to be stanched, or Cain would have to drop out of the race.
“I know there’s a lot of smoke, and he keeps denying it,” said Rosser, 62, a retired manager at AT&T. “I think he could win the nomination, but all this stuff has got to be cleaned up. We can’t have another month, another problem. If this continues, he’s out of the race. The door’s got to be closed today, as far as I’m concerned.”