Ben Carson Blasts 'Political Hit Job' After West Point Story Questioned

The GOP candidate speaks with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

ByABC News
November 8, 2015, 3:53 PM

— -- After a series of reports questioning stories told by Ben Carson, the Republican presidential candidate has fired back, blaming the media for a "political hit job."

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":