*CNN says it can’t find anyone to corroborate Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s claims that he once violently attacked his classmates, as he claims in his book, Gifted Hands.
In the book and in subsequent interviews, Carson tells of how he had a violent temper as a child. In separate incidents, he describes trying to attack his mother with a hammer, trying to stab a friend in school, and bashing a classmate over the head with a heavy lock. It was only after giving up his anger and turning to God, Carson writes, that he turned his life around.
But when CNN investigated these claims, Carson’s classmates seemed skeptical. “I don’t know nothing about that,” said one classmate of the stabbing incident. “It would have been all over the whole school.”
“I personally do not have knowledge of those incidents,” said another former classmate said. “I wondered, ‘When did that happen?’”
Those interviewed who knew Carson in childhood described him as exactly the mild-mannered man he grew up to become, not a hothead.
“He got through his day trying not to be noticed,” one friend said. “I remember him having a pocket saver. He had thick glasses. He was skinny and unremarkable.”
One classmate said that during a class reunion, he had huddled together with alumni, and no one could recall Carson’s supposed attacks. “Take my word for it: Everyone at Southwestern would know about it if something like that happened,” he said.
The Carson campaign did not respond to CNN when they asked for more information to track down Carson’s victims or any witnesses. “Why would anyone cooperate with your obvious witch hunt?” campaign aide Armstrong Williams asked.
Carson addressed his claims of a violent childhood and CNN’s investigation following a book signing in Miami, Fla. on Thursday.
During the impromptu Q&A session with reporters, he was asked to give specific details regarding the incidents he’d discussed in his 1996 book and in subsequent interviews.
Carson obliged, albeit with rough estimations of how old he was at the time of the named incidents (breaking someone’s glasses with a rock, an attempted stabbing, trying to hit his mother in the head with a hammer). Yet when a CNN reporter pressed for details about the presidential candidate’s alleged victims, he responded with a series of rhetorical questions.
“Why would you be able to find them? What makes you think you would be able to find them, unless I tell you who they are? If they come forward on their own because of your story that’s fine, but I’m not going to expose them.”