POLITICS
02/12/2016 09:39 am ET Updated Feb 12, 2016

Ben Carson Calls Cruz Campaign's Alleged Iowa Tactics 'Despicable'

The retired neurosurgeon says his campaign was "devastated" by rumors he'd dropped out of the race.

Former neurosurgeon Ben Carson said Friday that he's still in the running for the Republican presidential nomination as the race heads to South Carolina.

"I understand the people here, I think they understand me, and I believe we're going to do extraordinarily well here," he said of the state in an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "It's a matter of really getting out in front of enough audiences so that they get a chance to see me and hear me as opposed to the way that I have been characterized by many in the media."

But Carson still isn't over what he's characterized as "dirty tricks" of rival Ted Cruz's campaign. Following the Iowa caucus, Carson said that Cruz supporters were telling caucus-goers that Carson had dropped out of the race. On Friday, Carson called that "despicable" and detrimental to his showing in Iowa.

"They were devastating. Our internal polling and some external polling showed us doing significantly better than we did. But it's water under the bridge. it's not that many delegates. It's a long race. It's a nine-inning game, we don't call it after the second inning. We're going to do just fine, and I think South Carolina will be the turning point," he said. 

Cruz's campaign has denied those allegations.

In Iowa, Carson finished fourth, while Cruz came out on top. Carson's performance in New Hampshire was even less impressive, with the candidate finishing in eighth place.

Carson said he is willing to forgive Cruz about Iowa, but he clearly hasn't forgotten it.

"Well, of course it's a question of character. Character is also indicated by the kind of people that you protect and that you surround yourself with. And you know, the situation in Iowa, you know, I'm willing to forgive Ted Cruz. You know, he said that he didn't know that that was going on."

"But I hope people understand that, you know, we had hundreds of volunteers, college students, and when they heard this news, they were just devastated and they were out there, they were supposed to be, you know, helping people make up their minds, and they're sitting there kind of numb," said Carson Friday. "You know, that is just despicable."  

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