by Brent Smith | February 6, 2016 12:02 am
On Wednesday I was a little hard on the Cruz campaign. In fact I did something I accused his campaign of doing – not fully checking the background of a story before putting it out there.
I’m speaking of the Iowa Caucus and the ensuing firestorm caused by the spread of a rumor that Dr. Carson was hanging it up after Iowa. The Donald is so upset over losing to Ted Cruz that he wants a mulligan – a do-over, like what you get when you’re five. He’s now saying it’s not his fault he lost. What a child.
How does that even make any sense, other than to assume that every voter who baled on Carson went directly to Cruz, bypassing both Trump and Rubio? And has anyone seen any statistics of Caucus-goers abandoning Carson in droves? I haven’t. It defies logic – but then most of what Trump has been doing lately defies logic.
If you happen to be a WWE or UFC fan, the upcoming Saturday night Republican debate in New Hampshire is likely to look familiar. It’s going to be a bloodbath and everyone on the stage is will be targeting Cruz because of this. He had better be well prepared with the facts and the timeline of events surrounding this Carson dropping out rumor. He will pay a price if he’s not fully prepared. I have confidence he will be, but it will likely not matter to the other candidates, or the so-called moderators. We’ll just see if they keep a handle on things or stoke the fires of discontent, which is more likely, being that everyone except the voters hate Cruz and would love to take him out.
So, in short, I was wrong to jump on Cruz and his staff so prematurely. I now recant my criticism of Senator Cruz and his campaign staff – and here’s the reason why. Many of you may already know this, but I feel compelled to right my own wrong.
On Wednesday, Trevor Loudon posted the timeline of events that led to the misunderstanding. And that’s exactly what it was – a terrible misunderstanding. And the way things look now for the Carson campaign with staff be slashed and leaving for greener pastures, these folks may indeed know something we don’t.
“Evidently, a damaging ‘rumor’ that Dr. Ben Carson was suspending his campaign started during a Monday broadcast on CNN at around 7:43 pm est, while the Iowa caucus was in full swing,” the post explained. “The ‘rumor’ led to Cruz campaign staffers informing their precinct captains that they should urge caucus-goers to vote for Ted Cruz. The Cruz camp, along with many other media sources had the same impression.” (emphasis added)
A Business Insider report was even posted and later updated with the link that read “businessinsider.com/ben-
At the time, even Larry Ross, Carson’s communication director, was not blaming the Cruz people as he wrote: “Contrary to false media reports, Dr. Ben Carson is not suspending his presidential campaign…” Yes, they were blaming the media for this – not Cruz’s staff.
This is when Twitter blew up, as Ken Shepard of Newsbusters, Chris Moody of CNN, Kaylee Kreider, former Al Gore aid and others tweeted how curious it was that Carson was going home to Florida instead of heading to N.H. or S.C. These tweets came in around 7:44 that evening. At 7:57 Laura Shupe of the Rand Paul campaign tweeted, “Word on the street Ben Carson done!Grab them voters!!!Look at @CNN.”
By this point, the rumor had developed wings. It wasn’t until 8:20 PM that Steve King, national co-chair of the Cruz campaign, tweeted that, “Carson looks like he is out. Iowans need to know before they vote. Most will go to Cruz, I hope.
It appears that Cruz himself got wind of this after the dust had settled and the Carson people had set the record straight. It was then that Cruz said what his team, upon learning what had happened, “should have done was send around the follow-up statement from the Carson campaign clarifying that he was indeed staying in the race when that came out.”
Anyone with an ounce of honesty will see this was a misunderstanding – and that’s it. But in politics, honesty is in short supply.
As Loudon said: “Basically, the Cruz team should have known better than to trust the media.” Amen to that! Yet to me, the whole thing with Carson just seems very odd. I think there is something going on here and we may find out next week.
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