Will Ben Carson's Disputed Stories Come Up In The GOP Debate? He's Being Heavily Scrutinized Right Now
Primary debates aren't really fun for anyone, but Tuesday's debate is going to be especially rough on one candidate in particular. As the current frontrunner and the main star in a campaign scandal, Ben Carson's alleged lies will probably pop up at some point during the night. The question is whether it will come from the moderators, or as a full on attack from his fellow candidates.
In the past week, Carson has been facing increased scrutiny after POLITICO found that he was never offered a full scholarship to West Point, as Carson had alleged in his book Gifted Hands. In it, Carson references having dinner with Gen. Westmoreland and being offered full acceptance to the prestigious military academy, free of charge. But according to POLITICO, Carson never even applied. Not to mention that it's impossible to get a scholarship, as all accepted students attend for free.
In the aftermath of this revelation, other details of Carson's life started to seem fishy, such as his constant references to his "pathological" temper. According to Carson, as a child his temper was so bad that he attacked his mother with a hammer and tried to stab a friend in the stomach. But a CNN investigation was unable to find any childhood friends or classmates who could recall Carson's anger problems, which have become a cornerstone anecdote in his campaign.
Carson and his campaign staff have demurred on whether these statements were fabrication, instead pointing toward hazy recollection or misconstrued facts. The candidate has even gone so far as to allege that no other candidate — including Barack Obama — has ever been examined and scrutinized as much as he has.
Given this response, it's likely that Carson won't be in a rush to have to explain these inconsistencies on national television. But will he even have to?
Luckily for Carson, he might not hear about it about it from the moderators. The debate, which is being hosted by the Fox Business Network, will likely be a polar opposite of the most recent CNBC debate. Following the debate, many of the GOP candidates lodged complaints regarding the "gotcha" questions and negative tone. Heading into Tuesday's debate, the moderators have already expressed their desire to avoid this line of questioning.
Also working for Carson (kind of) is the fact that the questions will almost entirely be focused on business and economic matters. In a desire to keep the debate on track and focused, the moderators may be unwilling to delve into Carson's recent scandal.
Unluckily for Carson, however, the other candidates probably won't hold themselves to the same measure. And while Carson has been complaining about probing journalists, the other candidates haven't been amused. Donald Trump has already wondered what other life details Carson could have fabricated, while Mike Huckabee had no sympathy for Carson. "You know that if you run for office you're going to be put through the sausage grinder," Huckabee told MSNBC.
Chris Christie, who was relegated to the undercard debate along with Huckabee, also commented on Carson's scandal. "We're responsible for the personal stories we tell about our lives and we need to be asked about them," Carson told MSNBC during an interview. Jeb Bush, however, has told Fox News that he believes Carson's story.
As front-runner, Carson should expect and be prepared for probing questions into his life and background — and that extends to the debate stage. Although the candidates might bristle at "negative" questions, if Hillary Clinton's emails are a valid topic of conversation for the debate, then so are Carson's lies. It's also the first substantial leverage that his other candidates could hold against him, and for individuals like Trump, who's had his numbers usurped by Carson, the leverage is probably looking pretty nice right now. How Carson handles the inevitable questions will speak volumes for the future of his campaign — and let's just hope his infamous temper doesn't show up.