November 06, 2015

Politico: Ben Carson admits lying about West Point scholarship

From Politico:

Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The academy has occupied a central place in Carson’s tale for years. According to a story told in Carson’s book, “Gifted Hands,” the then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by a “full scholarship” to the military academy.

West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.

“In 1969, those who would have completed the entire process would have received their acceptance letters from the Army Adjutant General,” said Theresa Brinkerhoff, a spokeswoman for the academy. She said West Point has no records that indicate Carson even began the application process. “If he chose to pursue (the application process) then we would have records indicating such,” she said.

When presented with this evidence, Carson’s campaign conceded the story was false.

More here.

November 05, 2015

Ben Carson brushes up on wet-foot, dry-foot: 'It doesn't make sense to me'

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A day after getting caught off guard by questions about U.S.-Cuba policy, Ben Carson visited Miami and questioned the practice of allowing Cubans who reach U.S. soil to remain in the country but returning to the island Cubans intercepted at sea.

“It doesn’t make sense to me, quite frankly, the whole wet-foot, dry-foot thing, doesn’t make sense to me because, like I said, you catch them a mile [away], you treat them differently than if you’re on the shore,” Carson told reporters in a break from signing copies of his latest book at a West Kendall Barnes & Noble.

The next part of the Republican presidential candidate’s answer seemed to conflate wet-foot, dry-foot with the Cuban Adjustment Act, the federal law that allows Cubans to apply for U.S. residency after spending 366 days in the country.

“And also, recognize that many people have taken advantage of that and you know gotten all kinds of benefits that perhaps they don’t deserve,” Carson said. “There are other people who perhaps get denied things that they should have.”

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has lived in West Palm Beach since 2013, said he “looked into” wet-foot, dry-foot after telling the Miami Herald he was unfamiliar with it in a phone interview Wednesday.

Continue reading "Ben Carson brushes up on wet-foot, dry-foot: 'It doesn't make sense to me'" »

November 04, 2015

And then there were 13 presidential candidates at Sunshine Summit


Ben Carson has confirmed his attendance to next week's Sunshine Summit in Orlando, the Republican Party of Florida said Wednesday.

He'll join Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul and Donald Trump.

Does Ben Carson's tax plan create a $1 trillion hole?

Ben Carson’s tithe-based tax plan became the subject of a computational tussle between him and a CNBC moderator during the third GOP debate.

Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist, has advocated for the federal government to adopt a tithing system across the board, referring to the Judeo-Christian practice of giving one-tenth of one’s income to the Church. "I think God is a pretty fair guy," he reasoned in the first Republican debate.

Moderator Becky Quick pointed out that a 10 percent flat tax would bring in a lot less revenue and asked how would that work. Tithing was just an analogy and the rate would actually be closer to 15 percent, Carson responded, adding that he’d fill the gap through "strategic cutting."

But Quick continued to press him on the numbers. Here’s a snippet of theirexchange on Oct. 28:

Quick: "You would have to cut government by about 40 percent to make it work with a $1.1 trillion hole."

Carson: "It's not true."

Quick: "It is true. I looked at the numbers."

Carson: "When we put all the facts down, you will be able to see that it's not true. It works out very well."

So true or not true? Carson has yet to release a tax plan, and his spokesman Doug Watts said that Quick "got several assumptions wrong" though he didn’t respond when we asked him which ones. But based on what Carson has said so far, Quick’s math is sound.

See what Linda Qiu of PolitiFact found.

Ben Carson speaks about Cuba, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson who has soared in the polls ahead of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio will appear in Miami and Fort Lauderdale Thursday.

In a telephone interview with the Miami Herald Wednesday, he talked about why he believes he is ahead of Bush in the polls, border security and why chose to bring his book tour to the liberal bastion of Broward County. (Read our separate blog about how he was stumped on some questions about Cuba and was candid about it.)

When asked if he plans to compete in Florida despite Rubio and Bush having the homefield advantage, Carson said: “I don’t think they have the home field advantage because I am a Florida resident too. We will let the people decide. Right now they seem to look fairly favorable at me.”

Carson was in second place in the national GOP primary Oct. 24-29, according to a Real Clear Politics average of the polls. Donald Trump was in first place at 27 percent followed by Carson with 22 percent followed by Rubio, Ted Cruz and Bush. The results of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News national poll announced Monday showed Carson in the lead in the primary.

An Oct. 8-13 University of North Florida statewide poll of Republican primary likely voters finds Trump leading with 21.7 percent, followed by Carson 19.3 percent, Rubio in third with 14.9 percent and Bush at a distant fourth with 9 percent.

Why does Carson -- who has lived in West Palm Beach since 2013 -- think he has leaped ahead of Bush, a former two-term Florida governor?

Continue reading "Ben Carson speaks about Cuba, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio " »

Cuba policy questions stump Ben Carson ahead of Miami book stop

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Ben Carson has defied the traditional presidential playbook, taking time off from the campaign trail to promote his latest book and sign copies for hundreds of fans, even in Democratic strongholds like Tallahassee.

He heads to more unusual ground in South Florida on Thursday: West Kendall, a Hispanic bastion, and Fort Lauderdale, the seat of the bluest county in Florida. Carson leads hometown candidates Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush in the latest Florida polls, behind only Donald Trump.

"I'm a little different than most of the candidates," Carson the author told the Miami Herald in a phone interview Wednesday. "I'm looking more nationally at everything that's going on across the country."

Before Carson the candidate campaigns to Miami-Dade County's Cuban-American Republicans, though, he might have a little catching up to do.

Carson's national approach means he didn't take a close look ahead of his trip at a key issue in local politics: U.S.-Cuba policy.

In the Herald interview, Carson appeared stumped by questions about the so-called wet-foot, dry-foot policy, which allows Cubans who reach U.S. soil to remain here, and about the Cuban Adjustment Act, which allows Cubans who arrive in the U.S. to apply for legal residency after 366 days. 

He was candid about not being up to speed.

"You're going to have to explain to me exactly what you mean by that," Carson said, asked about wet-foot, dry-foot. "I have to admit that I don't know a great deal about that, and I don't really like to comment until I've had a chance to study the issue from both sides."

On the Cuban Adjustment Act, he gave a similar response: "Again, I've not been briefed fully on what that is."

Continue reading "Cuba policy questions stump Ben Carson ahead of Miami book stop" »

October 29, 2015

Fact-checking Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Chris Christie in CNBC GOP debate

Republican presidential candidates held nothing back in their fiery third debate Wednesday, throwing punch after punch at each other, Democrats, the moderators and the press.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio sparred with his former mentor former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush throughout the night, and earned cheers and applause with this twofer: "The Democrats have the ultimate super PAC, it is called the mainstream media."

That sentiment was repeated by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz:

"The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media," Cruz said. "This is not a cage match. And, you look at the questions -- ‘Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?’ ‘Ben Carson, can you do math?’ ‘John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?’ ‘Marco Rubio, why don't you resign?’ ‘Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?’ How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?"

PolitiFact is looking into several claims from the debate, some more cage-matchy, and others about substantive issues. Here’s what we’ve fact-checked so far. (We’ll update this story as we add more.)

October 26, 2015

Ben Carson's false claim about the Nazis, Jews and guns

Republican Ben Carson has been criticized for suggesting that gun control enabled the rise of the Nazis and led to the extermination of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust.

But does he have a point?

In his book, A More Perfect Union, Carson wrote that "German citizens were disarmed by their government in the late 1930s, and by the mid-1940s Hitler's regime had mercilessly slaughtered six million Jews and numerous others whom they considered inferior.

"Through a combination of removing guns and disseminating deceitful propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance," he wrote.

Carson reiterated that argument at least twice -- in an Oct. 8, 2015, interview with CNN host Wolf Blitzer, and then again in a speech at the National Press Club.

"You know, mid- to late-30s, they started a program to disarm the people and by mid- to late 40's, look what had happened," he said at the Press Club.

See what Jon Greenberg of PolitiFact found.

October 06, 2015

Ben Carson's false claim about Margaret Sanger and African-Americans

Despite being dead for 49 years, Margaret Sanger, founder of the organization that became Planned Parenthood, has a way of turning up in the news. Her latest appearance came during  remarks by Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson at a retirement center in Exeter, N.H.

Answering a question at RiverWoods Retirement Community, Carson said that "Planned Parenthood, as you know, was founded by Margaret Sanger. . . . Margaret Sanger was a eugenicist. She believed that people like me should be eliminated, or kept under control."

At a press conference later, the West Palm Beach resident specified what he meant by "people like me."  He said he was "talking about the black race."

See what PolitiFact New Hampshire found about Carson's claim and here is his Truth-O-Meter record

October 01, 2015

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson top PolitiFact Florida's Truth-O-Meter in September


The GOP presidential debate on CNN fueled many of PolitiFact Florida's most-clicked fact-checks in September.

Claims by three of those candidates -- retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson of West Palm Beach, former Gov. Jeb Bush, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio -- dominated our Top 5 most clicked-on reports in September, as did a couple of attacks on frontrunner Donald Trump.

Here’s a look at our most popular reports from September, counting down to the most popular.