Exclusive — Ben Carson: ‘Obvious’ GOP Opponents Use National Review ‘As Their Political Tool’ to Attack Me

Top GOP contender and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson tells Breitbart News Daily that “critics” used conservative magazine National Review to attack him for his relationship with the supplement company, Mannatech.

Executive chairman and host Stephen K. Bannon asked Carson about his reaction to a scathing post published at National Review, calling Carson’s statement’s “bald-faced lies.”

“Does it strike you that they’re not going after — you know, here you’ve got Marco Rubio… that has had a job as a pitchman for the Gang of Eight, of which we’ve had eight hours of debates. I do not believe Sen. Rubio has been asked one question about his marketing of the Gang of Eight bill, and all the gross representations he made about that at the time. Yet this magazine calls you a ‘bald-faced liar’ — do you think they single you out for special, brutal treatment?”

“Well, they’re concerned about — that obviously comes from someone on that debate stage,” Carson said. “That’s a submarine that’s sent by them. They’re very concerned about me, and they’re using National Review as their political tool. That’s pretty obvious.”

“So you believe that information that leaked or used, or was somehow put in by another campaign and given to National Review to be weaponized,” Bannon said.

“Absolutely,” Carson replied.

National Review‘s Jim Geraghty reported in January that Carson interacted with Mannatech for a decade, calling the relationship between the candidate and the embattled company “troubling.” Similar questions were raised during the CNBC debate.

Breitbart News published a portion of the transcript from the CNBC debate which re-ignited media interest:

CNBC’s CARLOS QUINTANILLA: One more question. This is a company called Mannatech, a maker of nutritional supplements, with which you had a 10-year relationship. They offered claims that they could cure autism, cancer, they paid $7 million to settle a deceptive marketing lawsuit in Texas, and yet you’re involvement continued. Why?

CARSON: Well, that’s easy to answer. I didn’t have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda, and this is what happens in our society. Total propaganda. I did a couple of speeches for them, I do speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of a relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes. I think it’s a good product.

QUINTANILLA: To be fair, you were on the homepage of their website with the logo over your shoulder…

CARSON: If somebody put me on their homepage, they did it without my permission.

Geraghty slammed Carson’s claims as “bald-faced lies” the day after the debate:

His declarations that “I didn’t have an involvement with them” and “absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them” are just bald-faced lies. Mannatech wanted to improve its image and happily paid Carson, one of the country’s greatest neurosurgeons, the man Cuba Gooding Jr. played in the HBO movie — to appear at their events and to appear in the company videos. They put his face all over their web site (sometime between my story and now, those images were taken down). Carson’s lack of due diligence before working with the company is forgivable. His blatant lying about it now is much harder to forgive.

Complicating matters, Carson’s business manager Armstrong Williams appeared to contradict Carson and told CNN’s Jake Tapper he had secured a contract with the company.

“What is good about this is that I actually negotiated the contract as his business manager. Dr. Carson was asked to go to Arizona — and there’s an e-mail chain, and I may mess up some of the details — to be a part of Mannatech. They wanted to tape something for PBS,” he said.

Williams later walked back his statements after they riled up the mainstream media, telling Breitbart News he had misspoken: “During my appearance on Jake Tapper I qualified everything I said, out of concern for misstating facts. I was confused on facts… There was no contract between Dr. Carson and Mannatech.”

Richard Taylor, producer of the PBS special, told Breitbart News he had a verbal agreement with Carson to host the program. Carson was not compensated, but Taylor says he paid for Carson’s transportation and lodging.

LISTEN:

The full interview can be heard here.

Email Katie at kmchugh@breitbart.com.


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