Republican frontrunner Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship

BALTIMORE — Ben Carson has built his brand and his presidential campaign on a rags-to-riches success story that took him from Detroit to Johns Hopkins here in Baltimore. But as he rises in the polls — even eclipsing Donald Trump in some early state and national stories — his biography is drawing more scrutiny. A new chink in Carson's backstory came Friday when his campaign admitted to POLITICO that he had fabricated his acceptance and admission into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a point that Carson described in some detail in his 1996 autobiography, "Gifted Hands," which later became a movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr. In the book, Carson says of being offered a full scholarship to West Point after meeting Gen. William Westmoreland, who commanded United States forces in Vietnam. West Point though confirmed to POLITICO that there were no records indicating that Carson had applied, and Carson's campaign manager Barry Bennett told the website that Carson considered applying to West Point but "in the end, did not seek admission." Carson's admission that he fabricated a central part of his backstory comes as he is facing mounting questions about his personal narrative and particularly his childhood. "@Robostop10: @realDonaldTrump This is not good. https://t.co/lvv0MRfgtH" WOW, one of many lies by Ben Carson! Big story. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2015 An investigation by CNN has focused on instances of violence that Carson described in "Gifted Hands" and elsewhere. In one passage of the book, Carson describes a 1960s knife attack on a boy who was identified only as "Bob." The fight, he wrote, was over which radio station to listen to. Carson also described tales of punching someone, throwing rocks and hitting his mother with a hammer, a violent temper that seems drastically different than the soft-spoken man that appears on Republican debate stages. In the days since he has been pressed for more details, Carson has given shifting explanations. In a Fox News interview Thursday night, Fox said that "Bob" — the person he says he tried to stab as a child — was not "anxious to be revealed." "It was a close relative of mine, and I didn’t want to put their lives under the spotlight," he said. On Friday morning, he called CNN's reporting a "bunch of lies," despite the fact that the network's reporters had been unable to corroborate the stories with Carson's childhood acquaintances. "This is a bunch of lies attempting to say I'm lying about my history," he said. "I think it's pathetic, and basically what the media does is they try to get you distracted." Carson said that the vetting he is receiving from the media now was unfair, and significantly less than the vetting then-candidate Barack Obama received. "The vetting that you all did with President Obama doesn't even come close, doesn't even come close to what you guys are trying to do in my case, and you're just going to keep going back," Carson said. "Give me a break." Carson, the son of a woman who only had a third-grade education graduated from Yale and the University of Michigan Medical School. He was the youngest person and first black doctor to hold the title of chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. While he has never held political office, he made waves in 2013 with a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in which he denounced the Affordable Care Act and the country's "moral decay." But Carson's life prior to his presidential campaign was not without its own controversy. In 2013, Carson withdrew as a commencement speaker at Johns Hopkins after linking same-sex marriage to pedophilia. Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. window._msla=window.loadScriptAsync||function(src,id){if(document.getElementById(id))return;var js=document.createElement('script');js.id=id;js.src=src;document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0].parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}; _msla("//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js","twitter_jssdk");