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US presidential hopeful 'claimed he was named most honest in class which didn't exist'

Questions are mounting over Ben Carson’s autobiography.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

BEN CARSON, THE neurosurgeon who is the front-runner for the Republican nomination to contest next year’s US presidential election, is being forced to answer a number of questions about his past.

Yesterday, Carson was forced to explain a claim made in his autobiography that he had received a scholarship offer for the US Military Academy at West Point even though it does not offer scholarships and he never applied for admission.

Carson said that the media asking those questions were being “unfair”.

“I think what it shows, and these kinds of things show, is there is a desperation on behalf of some to try to find a way to tarnish me,” Carson said during a news conference outside West Palm Beach.

“Because they have been looking through everything. They have been talking to everyone I have ever known and everybody I have ever seen. There has got to be a scandal.”

Questions about Carson’s assertions about his personal history, including his claim that he was a troubled youth beset at times by violent behavior, and his inaccurate pronouncements about historical events have gained attention as he has risen to the top of some national polls.

Today, the Wall Street Journal published a story which also cast doubt on a story Carson told in his 1990 book Gifted Hands about him being named “most honest” in a class at Yale. The class did not exist.

Pressed further by reporters last night, Carson said:

“What about the West Point thing is false? What is false about it?”

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Asking if he had made a mistake in recounting the story, he said, “I don’t think so. I think it is perfectly clear. I think there are people who want to make it into a mistake. I’m not going to say it is a mistake, so forget about it.”

A CNN report this week found no support for Carson’s oft-repeated claim that he tried to stab a close friend as a teenager. Citing privacy concerns, his campaign has refused to name the person involved.

In a post Wednesday on his Facebook page, Carson, who has no political experience, wrote that “every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience.” About half had been elected members of colonial assemblies, and the error to The Washington Post was acknowledged.

With AP reporting

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