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Cain quits US presidency bid

world Updated: Dec 04, 2011 23:51 IST

Agencies
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Herman Cain always was a man in a hurry.

Even before his improbable and peculiar presidential campaign, he had spent five decades restlessly, endlessly seeking the next big thing.

His resume, his writings, numerous people who have known him over the years all point to a man of ability, ambition and supreme self-confidence, a man who rushed through life in search of ever grander stages and ever brighter spotlights.

In the end, the allegations of sexual impropriety and his campaign’s muddled responses to them forced Cain to do what he almost never had done in his gold-plated career: Quit on someone else’s terms.

The announcement marked an unfamiliar and unceremonious end for a man who, until barely a month ago, had repeatedly overachieved in his professional and political pursuits. It was a rare moment of defeat, a tacit admission of failure, for a man who seldom has slowed down in his voracious quest for personal achievement.

Throughout his decades-long ascent, Cain followed a consistent pattern: He would focus with laser-like intensity and enthusiasm on each new role.

Then, eventually and inevitably, he would grow bored and move on.“At each destination point on my journey, I was always faced with the decision to take the risk of a new opportunity or stay comfortably where I was at the time,” he once wrote.

“Sometimes I went looking for the opportunity and sometimes it found me .?.?. In either case, you never look back.”In the 1960s, he kept his distance from the civil rights struggle swirling around him in Atlanta and focused instead on launching a career.

He longed to earn $20,000 a year - enough to qualify for two American Express cards. In the late 1970s, he left his analyst job at Coca-Cola after four years, fearing his rise would be hampered by the fact that his father was the chauffeur for the company’s longtime chief executive.

In an exclusive partnership with The Washington Post