Herman Cain yesterday, after the allegations of a 13-year affair with Atlanta businesswoman Ginger White first surfaced:

“As long as my wife is behind me, I’m staying in this race. … If I drop out because of this kind of mess … the system wins.”

Herman Cain today:

“This is cause for reassessment.”

On a conference call with senior staffers this morning, Cain said this is not the first time he has had to reconsider his candidacy — but he implied that it could be his last.

“We have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud in some peoples’ minds as to whether or not they should support us going forward,” he said, according to an initial report and transcript of the call posted at National Review Online. “Any time you put another cloud of doubt, unfortunately, in the court of public opinion, for some people, you’re guilty until proven innocent. And so, the public will have to decide whether they believe her or whether they believe me. That’s why we’re going to give it time, to see what type of response we get from our supporters.”

Cain said again that the various allegations against him — both of sexual harassment and adultery — are unfounded and expressed his intention to maintain his schedule for the next couple of days. Still, the general tenor of the call suggested he’s seriously considering dropping out of the race.

“Over the next several days, we are going to continue with the schedule as usual,” he said. “I’ve got a major speech tonight at Hillsdale College on national security and foreign policy, and I will deliver it with vim, vigor and enthusiasm. And then tomorrow we’ve got some media appearances scheduled. So we’re going to continue until we complete our assessment over the next several days. … But if a decision is made, different than to plow ahead, you all will be the first to know.”