'Don't lie!': Ben Carson holds combative press conference to denounce media reports about him

West Point Claim: Carson Hits Back
West Point Claim: Carson Hits Back

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson held a fiery press conference Friday evening to respond to recent Politico and CNN investigations into his past.

"Wait a minute, don't lie! I never said that I received a full scholarship. Nowhere did I say that," the leading Republican presidential candidate challenged one reporter who suggested otherwise.

He continued: "Politico, as you know, told a bold-faced lie. They've been called out on that by The Washington Post and by The New York Times, and I'm sure there will be several others who will call them out on that because there are actually some people with integrity in your business."

Carson's presidential campaign was rocked by two stories at the end off the week.

CNN's story looked into claims made in Carson's memoir, "Gifted Hands," of being a violent young teenager some 50 years ago who attacked his mother and attempted to stab a friend. The network talked to people who knew Carson then, but they were surprised that he could have done such a thing. Carson said he had an epiphany after the incidents and became the famously calm man he is today.

Meanwhile, in an especially explosive Friday story, Politico initially declared that Carson had "fabricated" in his memoir a West Point scholarship offer he said he received. Carson's campaign subsequently blasted the story as an "outright lie," and Politico dialed back aspects of its report.

Ten facts you should know about Ben Carson:

Carson admitted Friday that he had not received a formal scholarship to attend West Point, as his book had suggested, but said he had received informal encouragement to attend the military academy that he interpreted as an offer. And addressing the CNN report, Carson said he would not reveal the victims of his childhood attacks unless they agreed to have their names publicized.

"There is a desperation on behalf of some to try to find a way to tarnish me because they have been looking through everything. They have been talking to everybody I've ever known and everybody I've ever seen," Carson said. "They are getting desperate. So next week it'll be 'my kindergarten teacher who said I peed in my pants.' I mean, it's ridiculous!"

Carson also predicted that all of the media attacks would help lift his campaign, which in recent days has challenged real-estate mogul Donald Trump's status as the Republican primary front-runner.

"My job is to call you out when you're unfair," he told the reporters at his press conference. "And I'm going to continue to do that."

Watch the full press conference below:

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