- The Washington Times - Friday, November 6, 2015

Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson said his political opponents are desperate to tear him down and are feeding erroneous stories to the press — but said he will not provide the names of friends who could corroborate his childhood stories.

In a hastily-called, combative press conference in Florida, he sought to push back against stories that have questioned parts of his personal story, including his claims that he was offered a scholarship to the United States Military Academy at West Point, and that he had a violent temper as a child.

“My job is to call you out when you’re unfair,” he told reporters.

He defended his West Point story against a story in Politico, which said West Point had no record he ever applied. Mr. Carson said as a superior ROTC student in Detroit, he was told he’d be eligible for an offer of admission to the academy, which comes with full costs paid — which he said is the equivalent of a scholarship. He said he never pursued the offer because he always wanted to go to medical school instead.

He also declined to provide friends’ names who might back up his stories of youthful anger, saying he didn’t think it was fair to subject them to a press feeding frenzy.

But the retired neurosurgeon predicted the questions will actually help him with Republican voters, saying they are rallying around him and will boost him in the primary.

He repeatedly challenged reporters’ questions, pushed them to ask different ones, and accused them of singling him out.

“I do not remember this level of scrutiny for one President Barack Obama when he was running. In fact, I remember just the opposite,” Mr. Carson said, raising a number of past questions about Mr. Obama’s college records and his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

CNN this week questioned Mr. Carson’s story that he tried to stab someone in a fit of rage as a teenager. The network said it couldn’t find anyone from his school at the time, with the names Mr. Carson said, who remembered the incident.

Mr. Carson’s camp said he changed the names in his book to protect the people’s privacy.

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