Ben Carson Vows Campaign 'Alterations' to Defend Against Attacks

  • Candidate slipping in polls says narrative needs to change
  • Previous approach to criticism too `nonchalant,' Carson says

Best of 2015: The GOP Candidates' Defining Moments

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said his campaign plans “alterations” to respond more aggressively to challenges to his life story and foreign policy expertise that have created a negative impression of him with some voters.

Carson, who earlier this year led some national polls among 2016 Republican hopefuls, said on the CBS “Face the Nation” broadcast on Sunday that his campaign needs to “forcefully inject” its responses to attacks that have harmed his standing.

“We have kind of taken a nonchalant attitude,” Carson said. “That’s the wrong thing to do, so you will see much more aggressiveness in that region.” 

Carson said he should have responded sooner to suggestions in the media of inaccuracies and embellishments in his 1990 autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” which chronicled the candidate’s path from inner-city Detroit kid to world-renowned neurosurgeon, as well as the characterization of his foreign policy understanding as limited.

Capitalizing on enthusiasm for political outsiders in this year’s presidential campaign, Carson, 64, vied with billionaire Donald Trump for front-runner status throughout the summer and into fall. His momentum has ebbed in recent weeks, as Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has gained support among religious conservatives who form the core of Carson’s support, and Trump continues to dominate headlines.

Trump leads the Republican field with 37 percent support, with Cruz second at 18 percent and Senator Marco Rubio at 11 percent, according to an average of recent polls compiled by Real Clear Politics. Carson was in fourth place, with 9 percent support. In states that will hold the nation’s first two nominating contests, Carson is running fourth in Iowa and seventh in New Hampshire.

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