Reporting from Story City, Iowa— Herman Cain, a retired businessman who rescued the Godfather's Pizza chain from peril in the late '80s, was holding his final meet-and-greet of the day at the Royal Cafe, a modest restaurant with a retirement home on its second floor. Earlier that day, he'd visited a firehouse in Iowa Falls and a "tea party" gathering in Marshallville.

About 40 people, many of them elderly, sipped pink lemonade and listened politely as Cain explained why he should be the next Republican presidential nominee.