Carson, Cruz trade shots over possible campaign sabotage; Cruz camp accused of ‘dirty tricks’

The Ted Cruz campaign retorted the charges of chicanery from the Ben Carson campaign.

On Monday night, presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson‘s camp accused the Texas senator’s supporters of subterfuge, claiming they deliberately misled Carson supporters to believe the world renowned neurosurgeon had dropped out of the race in order to move their votes to Cruz.

“I was reasonably happy today, until I, you know, discovered the dirty tricks going on — spreading rumors I had dropped out,” the normally reserved Carson told reporters on Monday.

“That is really quite a dirty trick,” he said. ”I want [my supporters] to recognize this makes me more determined than ever to keep going.”

Carson’s Iowa co-chair Rob Taylor was even more direct.

“This is horses—t, bottom line,” he said.

Barb Heki, a Mike Huckabee supporter who caucused in Hyperion Point Country Club in Johnston, Iowa, told MSNBC she witnessed the Cruz camp tell caucus goers that Carson had suspended his campaign.

“They gave their speech for Ted Cruz and said we also need to announce, and let you know, that Dr. Ben Carson has announced that he’s suspending his race for awhile after the caucuses are over,” she said.

Rumors were flying all over social media during Monday night’s frantic coverage:

The accusations came one day after an Iowa woman accused the Cruz campaign of shaming her dead mother with his “Voting Violation” mailer.

On Tuesday morning, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski confronted Cruz’s communications director Rick Taylor about the allegations.

“I have to ask, what with the allegations of, I guess I’ll have to say that in quotes, of ‘dirty tricks.’ The mailers that really seem totally off color in terms of how to win,” she said. “And also the, the sort of putting it out there that Ben Carson had dropped out, with your top surrogate even tweeting it. Why do that?”

Taylor replied that the “mailer was modeled after the Iowa Republican Party mailer that got so many Republicans elected in the last cycle.”

“I could show you lots of mailers that I would consider deceptive,” he added. “This was reminding people it was their obligation and duty to vote.”

He said the Ben Carson allegations were also much ado about nothing.

“We simply as a campaign repeated what Ben Carson had said in his own words. He said after Iowa he was going to go back to Florida for a couple of days and then he was going to go to D.C. to the prayer breakfast,” Taylor said. “That told us he was not going to New Hampshire. That was not a dirty trick. That was really surprising by a campaign who was once leading in Iowa saying he’s not going to come to New Hampshire. That’s a news item.”

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Social media was split on the controversy.


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