UPDATE: Carson’s camp now says that POLITICO itself fabricated Dr. Carson’s “admission,” and that they misinterpreted the campaign’s quote on the subject, leading to a massively inaccurate story. It seems like a mountain out of a molehill. Did he fudge and misremember a few things in a memoir? Maybe. But it really doesn’t have much of an impact on his long-term success or qualifications to be President. I mean, it’s not like admitted to doing cocaine in his autobiography or anything.
Frankly, this might be the best thing that could have happened to Dr. Carson. After a week of weird sound bites, the story surrounding him is an attack by the media, something conservative candidates should be able to capitalize on and thrive from.
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Apparently, CNN has spent an awful lot of time digging up names of Ben Carson’s childhood bullying victims and POLITICO is recreating his dinner schedule from four decades ago.
I’m not sure they spent this much time digging into Barack Obama’s past, which included admitted drug use and affiliation with some unsavory characters, including a “reformed” domestic terrorist with a kill list and a preacher with a penchant for an incendiary version of patriotism, but suffice it to say, Ben Carson’s memoirs will be dismantled with the type of surgical precision Dr. Carson usually reserves for the pediatric OR.
Unfortunately for Dr. Carson, the inquiry unearthed some sketchy details, and he has now declared defeat at the hands of the media, admitting to POLITICO that some parts of his inspiring tale may be edited for effect.
Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted, in a response to an inquiry from POLITICO, that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
The academy has occupied a central place in Carson’s tale for years. According to a story told in Carson’s book, “Gifted Hands,” the then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by a “full scholarship” to the military academy.
West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.
Nothing excuses these kinds of fabrications, whether they are made by Barack Obama or Dr. Ben Carson, but the story veers a bit off topic. Carson’s book doesn’t seem to indicate that he applied to West Point, nor that he was extended admission, only that he was offered a “full scholarship.” The odd part of the original memoir, however, is that West Point doesn’t offer scholarships, full or otherwise (ed note: it seems from their website that they do, now, call it a “full scholarship”). It costs nothing for cadets to attend West Point, as tuition and fees are covered by the government. West Point cadets even draw a limited pay. Carson himself got that detail wrong. He also seemed not to know that some cadets from West Point — about 2% of graduates — do eventually attend medical school.
The other scooplet, discovered by CNN, was that Dr. Carson was not nearly as violent in his youth as he claimed to be, changing his tale of stabbing a friend into a story about stabbing a close relative. This “get” is significantly less serious than the POLITICO one, since, like with records of Mitt Romney’s youthful dalliances against fellow Cranbrook alums, childhood stories are hard to corroborate, since memories change and stories develop over time. But still, it looks strange for someone with so much to crow about — Dr. Carson did, after all, rise from poverty to become one of the most talented and dedicated pediatric neurosurgeons in medical history — would resort to trumping up odd, minor details of his past.
At any rate, regardless of the disparate media treatment or the seriousness of the allegations, this will have an impact on Dr. Carson’s campaign. If conservatives consider the investigations the fruit of media bias, it should only hurt a little. If they consider the fabrications serious, it should hurt a lot. But like with most things in this campaign, the effect remains to be seen.
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That’s right, the Grinch (Joe Biden) is coming for your pocketbooks this Christmas season with record inflation. Just to recap, here is a list of items that have gone up during his reign.
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