Carson found himself facing scrutiny for saying he had been offered a full scholarship to West Point Military Academy. His campaign later clarified that he never formally applied nor was admitted, but maintained that he was invited to apply by a local ROTC officer.
"People are clearly able to see what's going on," Carson said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
"You look at the political hit job this week. I mean -- even some of you guys in the media called him out on that. It’s pretty bad," added Carson. His campaign communications director, Doug Watts, said he believed Carson was referring to Kyle Cheney, who filed the report on West Point for Politico, which later clarified its reporting.
Military commanders in Carson's hometown of Detroit said they would "take care of" his admission to West Point, Watts said, adding Carson, an ROTC student, then met with people and chose not to pursue it. West Point is tuition-free for accepted students in return for military service.
“Maybe the words are inaccurate, but that fact that you’re offered a chance to attend one of the military academies, you are in effect getting a scholarship because nobody pays a dime,” Watts said Friday.
Politico said in an editor's note Friday that it stood by its original reporting on the story. When asked for comment about Carson's reference to its reporting earlier today as a "political hit job," a Politico spokesperson directed ABC News to its editor's note, which reads:
"The original story and headline said that Carson's campaign had admitted he 'fabricated' a 'full scholarship' from West Point, but now Carson denies that his campaign’'s statement constituted such an admission, and the story and headline were changed to reflect that. POLITICO's reporting established that Carson said he received a 'full scholarship' from West Point, in writing and in public appearances over the years -- but in fact he did not and there is actually no such thing as a 'full scholarship' to the taxpayer-funded academy. And today in response to POLITICO he acknowledged for the first time that was not the case. Carson never explicitly wrote that he had applied for admission to West Point, although that was the clear implication of his claim to have received an offer of a 'full scholarship,' a point that POLITICO’s initial report should have made clear."
This is the full excerpt of what Carson wrote in his autobiography, "Gifted Hands":
"At the end of my twelfth grade I marched at the head of the Memorial Day parade. I felt so proud, my chest bursting with ribbons and braids of every kind. To make it more wonderful, we had important visitors that day. Two soldiers who had won the Congressional Medal of Honor in Viet Nam were present. More exciting to me, General William Westmoreland (very prominent in the Viet Nam war) attended with an impressive entourage. Afterward, Sgt. Hunt introduced me to General Westmoreland, and I had dinner with him and the Congressional Medal winners. Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point. I didn’t refuse the scholarship outright, but I let them know that a military career wasn’t where I saw myself going. As overjoyed as I felt to be offered such a scholarship, I wasn’t really tempted. The scholarship would have obligated me to spend four years in military service after finishing college, precluding my chances to go on to medical school. I knew my direction – I wanted to be a doctor, and nothing would divert me or stand in the way. Of course the offer of a full scholarship flattered me. I was developing confidence in my abilities – just like my mother had been telling me for at least he past ten years.”
Carson has also faced skepticism after a number of people who knew him when he was growing up told CNN they did not recall his exhibiting any anger or violence during his childhood. Carson has said he was violent growing up, including telling a story in "Gifted Hands" in which he described once trying to stab a friend or relative.
Carson said he stood by those stories, and that despite the reports, he will not be making any changes in his campaign moving forward.
"We tell the truth. We deal with the issues," he said. "I'm not a politician, so you know, you're not going to find me acting like a politician."