Is Herman Cain’s presidential campaign falling apart?

The Los Angeles Times, (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“What did I say? … Excuse me! … ExCUSE ME!” That’s what Herman Cain said recently. What made it so bad for him was that he appeared to be falling apart over reporters questioning him about a settlement over claims of sexual harassment when he was CEO at the National Restaurants Association.

Clearly, Cain isn’t ready for the inevitable dumpster diving that happens when your star rises in the political arena. If he had a savvy campaign team in place, they would have vetted him and been ready for any dark spots in his past. Cain’s team should have been prepared for this with talking points in place, along with a well-rehearsed candidate with every question imaginable. They didn’t.

Instead, Cain was caught off guard and continues to say and do all the wrong things toppling his star power with one misstep after another. One rival that Cain is not pointing a finger at has the best advice:

“My first advice is what he hasn’t done, which is say nothing until you sit down with your lawyers and with the people who know the facts,” [Newt] Gingrich said. “You thoroughly and completely understand them and you go through a period where everybody asks you — in your team — every possible negative question so you thoroughly understand what will happen.” [….]

Will Cain follow Newt’s advice and take a moment to reassess his campaign strategy and get back on track, whatever that was, or will he fizzle? Only his ego knows the answer to that.

Meanwhile, a third claim of sexual harassment publicly surfaces, Cain decides to publicly appear with Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife (Really!), and the very public finger-pointing mounts as Cain points at Perry who points at Romney. Add to this Cain’s obvious lack of knowledge on foreign (and domestic) matters, his inability to answer questions about his “999” plan, his lack of substance on key issues, and one can’t help think Cain’s star is crashing. But all is not lost, Cain’s rivals aren’t faring much better and funds keep coming into his campaign (he must have Koch brothers working overtime).

So what does all of this mean? With the pool of characters lined up in the Republican presidential nominee arena, 2012 will not be about whether President Obama can win, it will be about how wide a margin he wins by and how many other Democrats we can send to Congress to support him.

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