We know relatively little about the Republican’s leading presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, but we do know that his only qualification to be president is his ill-fated autobiography “Gift Hands: The Ben Carson Story,” the vetting of which seems to reveal that he’s a pathological liar. It is a rags-to-riches story of a young angry man who rose from an impoverished background encumbered with a personal history of violence – to the pinnacle of success as a questionable world-renowned neurosurgeon – to presidential candidate. Naturally, the centerpiece of the story is his “transformation from an angry young man into the calm collected GOP hopeful he is today…(however) Carson just can’t quit lying: CNN can’t corroborate any of the key stories from his autobiography.” The story of Bob, one of his more infamous tales, goes like this:
Carson claims to have punched a seventh-grade classmate in the head while holding a lock, and attempted to stab a classmate named “Bob” in ninth grade, but CNN spoke to nine people who knew him at the time — two of whom lived next door to the Carsons and knew young Ben well — and not a single one of them could corroborate his stories.
Carson has said that this is because he was ashamed of his temper and hid it from the world, but the incident in seventh grade allegedly happened at school, where one classmate, Gerald Ware, said that if it had happened, “it would have been all over the school.”
In one of the more bizarre interviews this cycle, CNN asked Carson about the incident where he tried to stab “Bob.” Forgetting for the moment that Carson describes “Bob” as a classmate in his book, he told reporters on Thursday that the name used in his book was fictitious, and that the so-called “Bob” was really a member of his family. “That’s not the real name, but yes he’s a very real person. I talked to him yesterday…He was a family member, and you know, I really don’t want to expose him further. I talked to him, he would prefer to stay off of the media, and I think I want to respect that.” As CNN notes, there is no indication alerting the reader the names have been changed.
Carson was combative from the very start of Friday’s interview and slammed CNN’s reporting into his past as a pack of lies when told CNN reporters could not corroborate his stories. Ultimately Carson’s belligerence turned into the tried-and-true Republican tactic of blaming the media by distracting from what is important. “This is a bunch of lies…This is a bunch of lies attempting to say I’m lying about my history, I think it’s pathetic, and basically what the media does is they try to get you distracted,” Carson said in the interview.
Even when Carson acknowledged that vetting a candidate is an important part of the election process, he attempted to redirect the attack back to the network, accusing the media of not doing the same with Hillary Clinton or President Barack Obama. As we said, the new Republican mantra is to make the story about the media, and not about the facts – “it’s a smear campaign.” Yet just today, Carson’s campaign admitted to Politico that he fabricated his story about receiving a West Point scholarship in 1969 – especially since “West Point had no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.”
Leaving us with these fine words: “I would say to the people of America, do you think I’m a pathological liar like CNN does? Or do you think I’m an honest person? And I’m going to leave that up to the American people to make that decision.” His own statements should settle the debate.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.