It wasn't supposed to end this way for Herman Cain.
His improbable run for the GOP presidential nomination should have served to burnish his CEO credentials, sell his books and enhance the fee the Baptist lay minister charges for motivational speeches and appearances.
This fall, the simplicity of Cain's 9-9-9 tax-reform plan propelled him to the top of a volatile field. Soon other candidates were rushing to introduce their own versions of a flat tax.
Herman Cain is appearing before his supporters in Georgia now, and NPR's Don Gonyea is going to join us. He's speaking but, in fact, he hasn't reached what we would call the hard news lead to announce whether he's staying in the race for the Republican nomination for president, or getting out. Don, are you there?
Endless hours of waiting on platforms and riding in train compartments are a recipe for conversation. And with a parliamentary election in Russia on Sunday, Trans-Siberian travelers seem more than willing to talk politics.
"The country has been going its way — down, down," said Nina Kuzmina who, like other travelers, spoke through an interpreter. The 35-year-old was bundled up in the cold at Yaroslavsky train station in Moscow, ready to board a train back to the industrial city of Perm, in the Ural Mountains, where she is raising three children.
And we're going to end with some breaking news today. Moments ago, Herman Cain announced that he is suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Here is what Mr. Cain said moments ago; his wife, Gloria, standing behind him outside of his Georgia campaign headquarters.
HERMAN CAIN: Today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign.