POLITICS

Ben Carson Accuses Ted Cruz Of Using 'Dirty Tricks' To Win Iowa

Carson says his campaign has survived the "lies," and that he will continue on to New Hampshire.

Ben Carson is accusing Ted Cruz's campaign of using "political tricks" to win Iowa.

Carson has alleged that the Cruz campaign told voters via mailers, social media and surrogates at caucus sites that Carson was dropping out of the race, so that those voters would instead caucus for the Texas senator. 

Carson's campaign sent out a statement Monday night that did not name Cruz specifically:

For months, my campaign has survived the lies and dirty tricks from opponents who profess to detest the games of the political class, but in reality are masters at it. Even tonight, my opponents resorted to political tricks by tweeting, texting and telling precinct captains to announce that I had suspended my campaign -- in some cases asking caucus goers to change their votes.

Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Carson directly accused the Cruz campaign of trying to edge him out by misleading his supporters. He pointed to a tweet from Cruz supporter Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that said, "Carson looks like he is out," citing a CNN reporter's tweet.

Carson said his wife also witnessed Cruz supporters telling caucusgoers this at one site.

The retired neurosurgeon finished fourth in the Republican caucus with just 9.3 percent of the vote, far behind caucus winner Cruz at 27.7 percent.

Carson indicated that he believes Cruz's alleged tactics affected his performance Monday night.

"I got calls from several people who told me their internal intelligence said I was going to do extraordinarily well," Carson told Fox News.

He called on Cruz to address the issue. "If he didn't know about this, he needs to get rid of the people who were responsible for that," Carson said. "If he did know about it, he needs to come out, admit what he did, and try to offer a solution."  

Cruz's communications director Rick Tyler appeared Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," where he denied Carson's allegations.

"It's just false. We simply as a campaign repeated what Ben Carson had said in his own words," Tyler said. "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. And what that told us was he was not going to New Hampshire. That's 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."  

Carson said he is not dropping out of the race and will head to New Hampshire.

"What this does is makes me more determined than ever to save this country," Carson said. "I am by no means throwing in the towel."

UPDATE: 8:27 p.m. -- Cruz apologized on Tuesday afternoon, admitting his campaign had sent an email to grassroots leaders implying that Carson was preparing to drop out and should have sent a follow-up email to correct the error.

"This was a mistake from our end, and for that I apologize to Dr. Carson," Cruz wrote in an email.

Carson's campaign accepted the apology, but said the incident shows Cruz as "someone driven by ambition."

"This incident further demonstrates that we need an individual who is not a politician to lead and to heal our nation, not someone driven by ambition," Carson's campaign said.

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