- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Tuesday accused rival Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign of dirty tricks in his caucus win the night before, saying they discouraged Carson supporters with a rumor that he planned to quit the race.

Scores of caucus-goers reported late Monday that Cruz campaign workers were telling caucus crowds that Mr. Carson was preparing to drop out, citing his scheduled return to his home in Florida after the Iowa contest.

“This is really a dirty trick,” said Mr. Carson, who finished fourth in the caucuses.

“If Ted Cruz doesn’t know about this, then he clearly needs to very quickly get rid of some people in his organization,” the retired neurosurgeon said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” “And if he does know about it, isn’t this the exact kind of thing that the American people are tired of? Why would we want to continue with that kind of shenanigans?”

He continued: “If he did know about it, he needs to come out and admit what he did and try to offer a solution.”

During the caucuses, the Cruz campaign circulated a news report that Mr. Carson was taking time off after Iowa to return to his home in Florida and “making a big announcement next week.”

Iowa Rep. Steve King, a prominent Cruz surrogate, tweeted: “Carson looks like he is out.”

The Cruz campaign insisted it did nothing wrong.

“I don’t know what the fuss is about it,” said Cruz campaign spokesman Rick Tyler. “We shared a clip from a news story, which is what we do. We share hundreds of clips every day.”

He questioned Mr. Carson’s decision to make a detour to Florida when the primary election in New Hampshire is a week away.

“It’s like skipping a playoff game and expecting to go to the super bowl,” he said.

Deana Bass, national spokesman for the Carson campaign, said Mr. Carson had been on the trail for weeks and needed to stop home to pick up clean clothes.

“He went home for a quick change and then he will back on the campaign trail,” she said.

Mr. Carson plans to campaign in South Carolina this week and be in New Hampshire for the candidates’ debate Saturday.

Mr. Cruz won the Iowa caucuses with 28 percent, beating front-runner Donald Trump at 24 percent. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio finished third with a better-than-expected 23 percent, followed by Mr. Carson at 9 percent.

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