It was politics as usual during the February 1 Iowa Caucus. Dr. Ben Carson was hopeful that he would clearly out-perform in Iowa, having been recognized as having one of the top three ground organizations in the state. Feedback from several sources suggested to him that his Iowa poll numbers were low.
Apparently someone in the Carson camp advised ‘someone’ that Carson would go home to Florida “for a change of clothes” before heading for Washington to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast and then continuing to New Hampshire.
Chris Moody, a (so called) reporter, CNN’s Senior Digital Reporter, tweeted: “Carson won’t go to NH/SC, but instead will head home to Florida for some R&R. He’ll be in DC Thursday for the National Prayer Breakfast.” Printing the assumption that Carson wouldn’t go to New Hampshire and South Carolina laid the groundwork for Cruz’s campaign to launch a devastating campaign to steal votes from Dr. Carson.
Moody’s tweet was re-tweeted by Iowa Congressman Steve King who has endorsed Cruz and was actively campaigning for him. At 5:20 pm, just over an hour before the caucus began, King added his two cents in his own tweet: “Carson looks like he is out. Iowans need to know before they vote. Most will go to Cruz, I hope.”
The official Cruz campaign twitter account proceeded to tweet something similar to the Moody tweet and then sent an email on official campaign letterhead to all Cruz caucus captains insinuating that Carson was leaving the race and telling them to announce it in their caucus and to recruit new supporters from Carson. In precinct after precinct, Cruz speakers made the announcement that Carson was leaving the race. Carson supporters and spokespeople said that they were “rattled” and “confused” by the announcement.
Candy Carson walked into one precinct caucus to speak to the group. Cruz supporters had announced that Carson was out. Mrs. Carson set the record straight and Carson won that caucus.
The Carson campaign sent out a clarification that Carson was not leaving the race but the Cruz campaign didn’t think it was important enough to send that information along.
Ted Cruz has apologized to Carson and has apologized publicly, acknowledging that his campaign distributed the information. He also acknowledged that his staff was wrong in not sending out an update after the Carson campaign issued its correction.
An apology is really nice. Yet Cruz hopes that is the end of it. Cruz took the Obama tactic of showing great concern yet held nobody accountable. Perhaps it is a Washington thing. Yes, whether he likes it or not, Cruz has been in Washington long enough to pick up some bad habits. These are probably his friends…you just don’t fire friends, do you? Cruz could take a lesson from Chris Christie, who fired people in his inner circle the minute he learned that they plotted some political payback to a mayor who elected not to support Christie.
It’s too late to get back votes from the Carson followers who switched their votes as a result of the announcement. While multiple sources were indicating that Carson would out-perform in Iowa, with the bogus information disseminated at the caucuses, he received 9.7% of the vote, a lukewarm performance.
Cruz wants to be president yet doesn’t believe in holding people accountable. Aren’t we tired of this? Perhaps the voters will teach Cruz about accountability by pulling their votes from him.