Just call him scrappy……
The usually mild-mannered Ben Carson — who’s been accused by rival Donald Trump of being too “low energy” — is flashing a feistier side as he defends himself against questions about his personal story, leaving pundits and rivals wondering whether he will “change the narrative” at Tuesday night’s fourth Republican presidential debate.
Tensions between the top GOP candidate and the media reached a flashpoint Friday night during a press conference in which he had heated exchanges with reporters. The retired neurosurgeon also has sparred with the media in other interviews in recent days.
“Don’t lie,” Carson said in accusing a “biased” media of orchestrating a political “witch hunt.”
He suggested Sunday he’s not backing down. “People … are saying, ‘Don’t let them do this to you,'” Carson told ABC’s “This Week.”
Carson will be center stage along with Trump on Tuesday night for the Fox Business Network/Wall Street Journal debate in Milwaukee.
Republican strategist David Payne argues that Carson will have a great opportunity on Tuesday to “change the narrative after a week of bad headlines,” though he needs to be prepared.
“If he goes into the debate talking about ObamaCare and other health care issues, he can own the stage,” Payne, a partner at the Vox Global firm, told FoxNews.com on Monday. “He can show a lot of energy because he knows this topic.”
Still, Carson is not alone in having to challenge the media as well as rivals who are lobbing attacks based on critical stories. Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio arrives in Milwaukee for the debate in a similar situation, facing increasing scrutiny, specifically over personal finances, as he climbs in the polls.
Though the debate is expected to focus on jobs, taxes and other economic issues, Trump shows no signs of changing his admitted strategy of going after his closest competition, as he and Carson trade the lead.
On Sunday, Trump coyly needled Carson — whom he has called “super low-energy” — about news stories challenging autobiographical accounts of Carson’s youth.
“I hope it all works out for him,” he said on ABC before making almost identical statements on CBS, CNN and NBC. In reference to reports about Carson’s troubled youth, he said: “It’s a strange situation though when you talk about hitting your mother in the head with a hammer and … stabbing somebody.”