Herman Cain Faces Sex Scandal Allegations Just Like Clinton, Edwards

Many other top pols have seen their careers upended by sexual impropriety.

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GOP presidential candidate and businessman Herman Cain is said to be reconsidering his decision to keep campaigning following the latest accusation of sexual misconduct made against him. He was accused by Ginger White, an Atlanta businesswoman, of carrying on a 13-year extramarital affair with her. It's an allegation he denies, though she offered phone records as proof of their relationship.

[See a slideshow of the top political sex scandals]

This latest claim follows a series of sexual harassment allegations made by several women against the former Godfather's Pizza CEO, all stemming from his time as president of the National Restaurant Association. Cain, who has been married to his wife Gloria for more than 40 years, continues to deny he has ever acted inappropriately and criticized the media for reporting on the allegations.

History has shown that while numerous politicians have been caught in sex scandals, they do not necessarily always end careers. The most obvious example is probably the Monica Lewinsky scandal that engulfed Bill Clinton's last presidential term. Clinton was forced to admit to an affair with Lewinsky, then a White House intern, in the face of evidence her friend provided an investigator charged with looking into other issues. As a two-term president, it's unlikely he'll ever run for elected office again, but his popularity has thrived since he left office and remains one of the most popular political figures today.

But several presidential candidates, including John Edwards and Gary Hart, were not as lucky and saw their political ambitions go down in flames thanks to their improprieties. Ultimately what may hurt Cain the most is the timing of the accusations. His GOP opponent, Newt Gingrich, has been married three times; reportedly leaving his first and second wives for his second and third wives, respectively. But in Washington, that's old news.

 Email: rmetzler@usnews.com

Twitter: @rebekahmetzler