In a quick turn of events, Ted Cruz apologized on Tuesday to Ben Carson after his campaign first denied it had a part in “spreading rumors” and playing “dirty tricks” against the Carson campaign.
“Last night when our political team saw the CNN post saying that Dr. Carson was not carrying on to New Hampshire and South Carolina, our campaign updated grassroots leaders just as we would with any breaking news story,” Cruz said in a statement first shared with CNN.
“That’s fair game. What the team then should have done was send around the follow-up statement from the Carson campaign clarifying that he was indeed staying in the race when that came out.”
“That was a mistake from our end, and for that I apologize to Dr. Carson.
The apology comes after the controversy ignited on social media Monday night and continued Tuesday morning, as BPR reported. The brouhaha had Cruz and Carson supporters taking sides.
— Tanya Mitchell (@Sisters4everT) February 2, 2016
The Carson team, as well as Carson himself, were furious:
“I was reasonably happy today, until I, you know, discovered the dirty tricks going on — spreading rumors I had dropped out,” the normally reserved Carson told reporters on Monday. “That is really quite a dirty trick,” he said. ”I want [my supporters] to recognize this makes me more determined than ever to keep going.”
Carson’s Iowa co-chair Rob Taylor was even more direct.
“This is horses—t, bottom line,” he said.
On Tuesday morning, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski confronted Cruz’s communications director Rick Taylor about the allegations.
“I have to ask, what with the allegations of, I guess I’ll have to say that in quotes, of ‘dirty tricks.’ The mailers that really seem totally off color in terms of how to win,” she said. “And also the, the sort of putting it out there that Ben Carson had dropped out, with your top surrogate even tweeting it. Why do that?”
He had said the Ben Carson allegations were also much ado about nothing.
“We simply as a campaign repeated what Ben Carson had said in his own words. He said after Iowa he was going to go back to Florida for a couple of days and then he was going to go to D.C. to the prayer breakfast,” Taylor said. “That told us he was not going to New Hampshire. That was not a dirty trick. That was really surprising by a campaign who was once leading in Iowa saying he’s not going to come to New Hampshire. That’s a news item.”
Did Cruz suddenly take the reins? What a difference a couple of hours can make!
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