- The Washington Times - Friday, November 6, 2015

New Jersey Gov. and GOP presidential hopeful Chris Christie said Friday that it ultimately is up to voters to decide whether fellow candidate Ben Carson has been telling the truth about his life story in the wake of a new report challenging the way he has characterized his past.

Mr. Carson came under fire after a story in Politico asserted that Mr. Carson had fabricated the story that he had been offered a scholarship to West Point. A Carson spokesman accused the news website of twisting the facts and dismissed the story as an outright lie, speculating that one of Mr. Carson’s rivals is peddling the information in an attempt to tear him down.

Speaking on CNN, Mr. Christie said all of the presidential candidates are responsible for the “honesty and accuracy” of their personal stories.

“So Dr. Carson is going to have to answer for it. He is going to have to answer to voters, and they are going to decide whether that answer is sufficient or not,” Mr. Christie said.

Polls show that Mr. Carson is leading the field in Iowa and nationally. GOP voters also view him as the most trustworthy candidate in the race, polls show.

Mr. Carson has claimed on multiple occasions that he was offered a full scholarship to West Point. The Carson camp said Friday that someone told him that his grades and performance in the ROTC in Detroit could land him an “appointment” to West Point.

Mr. Carson never applied for admission.

The story sparked a rapid response from the political world - including Donald Trump, who is running atop the polls with Mr. Carson and mocked his rival by retweeting another user’s question: “Is Carson hallucinating?”

“Is Carson hallucinating?” he wrote. “Now lies about West Point?”

Mr. Christie, meanwhile, said that he has no basis to doubt other things Mr. Carson has said — in part because his books were never on his reading list.

“I haven’t read any of Dr. Carson’s books, and I really never knew much about him until we started to campaign for president,” he said, adding that Mr. Carson is going to have to confront the questions going forward.

“He is going to have to answer those questions honestly — unlike apparently what happened with the West Point incident,” he said.

Fox Business Network announced Thursday that Mr. Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had missed the cut for the prime-time GOP debate at 9 p.m. EST Tuesday in Milwaukee, which will feature Mr. Carson and Mr. Trump, as well as Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Mr. Christie and Mr. Huckabee received invites to the undercard debate at 6 p.m. along with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

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