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ERRONEOUS EMAIL CLAIMED CARSON SUSPENDED CAMPAIGN, URGED SUPPORTERS TO VOTE FOR CRUZ
by Sharon Rondeau
(Feb. 2, 2016) — On Tuesday, one day after the Iowa caucuses, at least one staffer working for Republican caucus winner Sen. Ted Cruz was accused of political “dirty tricks” by fellow Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson.
CNN reported that Carson, who placed fourth in the Iowa Republican caucus, called for Cruz to fire the staffer(s) involved who perpetrated the falsehood that Carson was withdrawing from the race and suggested that Carson’s supporters cast their vote for Cruz.
Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who has declared his support for Cruz, furthered the falsehood by tweeting:
Carson looks like he is out. Iowans need to know before they vote. Most will go to Cruz, I hope. https://t.co/lW5Js50EMA
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) February 2, 2016
CNN stated that it had reported not that Carson was suspending his campaign, but rather, that he was going “to Florida to get a fresh set of clothes.” On Tuesday, CNN explained that “The Cruz campaign had seized on the news late Monday that Carson would not travel directly from Iowa to New Hampshire or South Carolina, and incorrectly suggested to precinct captains it was a sign that he would be dropping out of the race while the caucus was still in progress.”
An email sent by a Cruz campaign worker which CNN said it acquired was quoted as having said, “Breaking News. The press is reporting that Dr. Ben Carson is taking time off from the campaign trail after Iowa and making a big announcement next week. Please inform any Carson caucus goers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted Cruz.”
Cruz appears to have himself perpetrated the false report about Carson, urging Carson’s supporters to “coalesce around the true conservative who will be in the race for the long haul: TED CRUZ!”
CNN quoted Cruz’s spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, as having said of the incident, “Carson said he was taking time off to go home. We simply repeated what he said. Our email simply stated the facts.”
Frazier is the same person who insisted to The Dallas Morning News in August 2013 that Cruz had no knowledge of having had Canadian citizenship for his entire life. Cruz renounced his Canadian citizenship in May 2014, with some ruminating over why he did not do so sooner after “discovering” that he was Canadian by virtue of his birth in Calgary, Alberta on December 22, 1970.
On the application, the government of Canada asks a person intending to renounce citizenship if he or she has, or will shortly have, citizenship in another country to avoid statelessness.
On Tuesday Cruz apologized to Carson, characterizing the actions of his staffer as “a mistake.” On “The Factor” hosted by Bill O’Reilly that evening, Cruz made an appearance during which he said that the staffer had relied on a CNN report which had said that Carson did not plan to continue his campaign.
But that is not what CNN reported.
On Tuesday evening, King also tweeted an apology to Carson with the explanation of “Perhaps
@RealBenCarson supporters r unaware of this CNN story. http://tinyurl.com/j8pbmo8” whose link led to the following report in video form:
However, on Monday evening, Townhall.com reported that Carson would be going to Florida “before heading to New Hampshire,” where the state’s primary takes place next Tuesday. At approximately the same time, Business Insider characterized an official statement from the Carson campaign as “strange.” That statement reads:
Contrary to false media reports, Dr. Ben Carson is not suspending his presidential campaign, which is stronger than ever. After spending 18 consecutive days on the campaign trail, Dr. Carson needs to go home and get a fresh set of clothes. He will be departing Des Moines later tonight to avoid the snow storm and will be back on the trail Wednesday. We look forward to tonight’s caucus results and to meaningful debates in New Hampshire and South Carolina.
CNN’s Jake Tapper reported on Monday that Carson would spend time with his family and “not go directly to NH or SC,” quoting fellow reporter Chris Moody.
On Tuesday night, Cruz supporter Dana Loesch appeared to say that the misunderstanding about Carson’s plans came from the Carson campaign but provided no evidence to support her statement.
Loesch, a Glenn Beck protégé, joined Beck and approximately two dozen other writers and commentators in denouncing the candidacy of Donald Trump beginning with a special edition of National Review Online published on Friday, January 22.
In response to King’s Tuesday night tweet, The Post & Email commented,”‘Taking a break’ does not mean he was quitting the race. CNN was wrong, and Cruz campaign was arguably wrong.”
Over the weekend, reports of a flyer distributed to Iowans by the Cruz campaign claiming that voting “violations” were identified in their area, urging them to vote in the caucuses, reached the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, which issued a response terming the mailers “misleading.” On Tuesday afternoon, in response to The Post & Email’s inquiry to Secretary of State Paul Pate’s office, spokesman Kevin Hall wrote, “Regarding the Cruz campaign mailers, we are going to let our statement from Saturday stand as our official statement on the matter. You can find that here: http://sos.iowa.gov/news/2016_01_30.html.”
The Post & Email then contacted the Iowa Republican Party for comment as to whether or not it would be looking into Carson’s allegation against Cruz and any effect it might have had on the caucus outcome but did not receive a response by press time.
An average of seven polls leading up to the Iowa caucuses assembled by RealClearPolitics showed Donald Trump the projected winner, with Trump leading in all seven, at times by only one point and at others, by seven points.
At least two lawsuits and a number of ballot challenges have been filed against Cruz and fellow Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio alleging that they fail to meet the “natural born Citizen” requirement in Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution for the presidency. Cruz was born in Canada to a father from Cuba and a mother from the U.S., while Rubio was born in Florida to two Cuban parents not yet naturalized as U.S. citizens.