ATLANTA—More than eight months after suspending his campaign amidst plummeting poll numbers and allegations of sexual misconduct, Georgia businessman Herman Cain appeared at a spirited rally Friday to announce he was officially lifting the suspension and resuming his bid for the presidency.

"I’m back!" said Cain, surrounded by hundreds of supporters holding “Cain 2012” signs and chanting his name. "As of today, with the blessing of friends and family, my presidential campaign is once again in full effect."

"They wanted you to believe we couldn’t do this," he continued to uproarious applause. "They wanted you to believe that with enough character assassination, with enough dirty tricks, and with eight months of zero campaigning, I would drop out of this race. Well, let me tell me you something: The people of America have a different idea."

The announcement came as a surprise to many who assumed that Cain, still burdened by numerous sexual harassment charges and a poor showing in the primaries, had abandoned his bid for the White House. The former pizza company executive’s fundraising woes and nonexistent campaign infrastructure this year further convinced Beltway observers he had given up his presidential ambitions for good.

However, months after throwing his support behind then-candidate Newt Gingrich, Cain told supporters that his campaign was “back and better than ever,” and that he looked forward to battling President Obama all the way up to Election Day.

"We've got a lot of work to do, no doubt about that," said Cain, who added that campaigning in crucial battleground states, as well as officially securing his party's nomination at the Republican National Convention this month, would be key to winning the presidency in November. "But make no mistake, we are in this for the long haul. And I'll tell you something else: It sure feels good to be back."

"Just call me the Comeback Kid," Cain added.

Cain, who had not appeared at a campaign event since December, went on to tell supporters that his time off had allowed him to regain his focus and redouble his commitment to key policy platforms such as his 9-9-9 initiative, building electrified fences along the U.S.-Mexico border, and promoting prayer in public schools.

The former, and now current, candidate for president also took the opportunity to harshly criticize President Obama.

"Barack Obama will tell you he is looking out for ordinary American taxpayers, but this campaign knows better," said Cain, stating that he believes he has a "great chance" of defeating Obama in November. "I look forward to debating the president on this and other issues in due time, but until then, you better get your tickets ready, because it's time to ride the Cain train again."

At press time, Cain told reporters he was leaning toward former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as his running mate.