Did Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign use lies and dirty tricks to win Iowa? At least two GOP candidates say yes, and the Cruz campaign says its CNN's fault. What actually happened?
This is a Reality Check you won't see anywhere else.
Accusations that Ted Cruz's campaign used dirty tricks to win Iowa Caucus. Ben Swann explains what happened in Reality Check.
Posted by Ben Swann on Thursday, February 4, 2016
Now presidential candidate Donald Trump is demanding that Cruz be either disqualified from the Iowa caucus or a new caucus be held. Trump and Carson are claiming that the Cruz campaign "stole" the vote by deceiving voters. So here's what really happened.
On caucus day in Iowa, CNN reported that Carson was heading to Florida. CNN political reporter Chris Moody tweeted at 7:43 pm, "Carson won't go to NH/SC (New Hampshire/South Carolina), but instead will head home to Florida for some R&R (rest and relaxation)."
He then tweeted immediately afterward, "Carson's campaign tells me he plans to stay in the race beyond Iowa no matter what the results are tonight."
CNN then took that announcement to air.
Now, there was no claim of a dropout there but the Cruz campaign jumped all over that. Cruz Iowa staffer Spence Rogers sent precinct captains an email during the caucus hinting that Carson planned to leave the race.
The email sent stated, "Breaking News: The press is reporting that Dr. Ben Carson is taking time off from the campaign trail after Iowa and is making a big announcement next week. Please inform any Carson caucus goers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted Cruz."
Then, Cruz surrogate Iowa Congressman Steve King tweeted to his followers, "Carson looks like he is out. Iowans need to know before they vote. Most will go to Cruz, I hope."
The only problem was that Carson was not out. In an interview with Fox news, Carson says his wife had to explain at one caucus site that he had not quit the race. He says he actually won that precinct.
This is only one way that the Cruz campaign has been accused of dirty tricks in Iowa. On Saturday, the Iowa Secretary of State issued a statement criticizing Cruz for sending out a mailer which featured the phrase "voting violation."
"Today I was shown a piece of literature from the Cruz for President campaign that misrepresents the role of my office. Accusing citizens of Iowa of a 'voting violation' based on Iowa Caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act. There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting," stated the Iowa Sec. of State Paul Pate.
So what you need to know is that so far, no one has been fired for this "honest mistake." However, if it was honest then why was it that for the next 45 minutes while the caucus went on, there were dozens of tweets clarifying that Carson was not out, including from Carson himself? Does the Cruz campaign admit that they did not bother to pass along that information?
Maybe Carson says it best when he asks, "Isn't this the exact kind of thing that the American people are tired of?"
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