Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said he had no problem being vetted by the media during Tuesday night’s debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as long as Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton receives the same treatment.
“The fact of the matter is we should vet all the candidates,” said Carson. “What I do have a problem with is being lied about and then putting that out there as truth. I don’t even mind that so much if they do it with everybody.”
The retired neurosurgeon has been the subject of intense scrutiny over the past week for certain biographical claims. For example, Carson said he was offered a “full scholarship” to West Point and was once dubbed “the most honest student” in a Yale psychology class. In fact, Carson never applied to the prestigious military academy, let alone gained acceptance. And the Yale story at first could not be confirmed by anyone at the school.
Given that so much of Carson’s campaign has been built around his personal journey from troubled youth to renowned doctor, debate moderator Neil Cavuto asked the GOP front-runner whether he could still be trusted as a presidential candidate.
“Thank you for not asking me what I said in the 10th grade,” Carson joked, earning big laughs from the audience. Many of his supporters have dogpiled on the media for overly parsing Carson’s past to paint him as a liar.
Carson then pivoted toward Democratic front-runner Clinton, claiming she lied about the Benghazi attack in the immediate aftermath of the deadly assault. The aggressive turn sparked an enthusiastic response from the crowd.
“I think that’s very different than somebody misinterpreting when I said I was offered a scholarship to West Point,” Carson said. “We have to start treating people the same.”
Carson did appear to contradict his past, however, in response to a different question – this one on whether he’d raise the minimum wage to alleviate poverty. As recently as May, Carson said the federal minimum wage should be higher. But on Tuesday, he stood with the rest of the Republican pack in opposing a federal minimum wage increase.