Ben Carson, who has reached the top of polls in the GOP primary in part through telling his compelling personal story of surviving a difficult childhood to become a world-renowned neurosurgeon, is now facing intense scrutiny about whether he has exaggerated or made up details of his early life.
A Friday report published by Politico cast doubt on claims made by Carson in his best-selling autobiography "Gifted Hands" that he was "offered a full scholarship" to attend West Point. Carson's campaign, and the candidate himself, responded that the offer was made at an informal meeting with West Point representatives but that he never followed through on such an opportunity because he wanted to pursue a career as a doctor, a claim consistent with his writing.
On Thursday, CNN Published a story in which the network said it could not find anyone who grew up near Carson in Detroit to corroborate several anecdotes the doctor has told about his childhood.
Some of his neighbors and friends from that period, speaking to CNN, could not recall incidents Carson has spoken or written about that include him allegedly being stopped by his brother from punching his mother, attempting to stab one of his friends during an argument and hitting a kid in Carson's neighborhood with a rock, breaking his glasses and smashing his nose.
Carson has strongly denied he falsified these details of his childhood, accusing CNN of a "smear campaign" in an interview on Fox News on Thursday. On Friday, he accused the media of conducting a "witch hunt."
For Carson, this type of scrutiny is perhaps the biggest threat yet to his surging campaign, because the retired neurosurgeon is relying heavily on his personal story to connect with voters. Read more here.
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