Americans may see a new presidential candidate on the Republican debate stage Tuesday night: a feisty and fired-up Ben Carson.
The retired surgeon's ongoing tangles with the news media about his background have brought out a more aggressive Carson, who has been known up to now for his mild-mannered temperament and refusal to descend into the pit of campaign charge and counter-charge.
But the media storm, and Carson's ability to survive it so far, have impressed some Republicans who say he had been too laid back. He has decided to use the news media as a target, accusing reporters of being unfair, too liberal, and eager to take down a front-running conservative – an anti-media tactic that often works among GOP voters who have long said the media are lined up against them.
See images of Carson on the trail:
Ben Carson on the campaign trail
Will Ben Carson come out swinging at GOP debate?
MT. AYR, IA - JANUARY 22 : Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is introduced during his 'Trust in God Townhall' campaign stop January 22, 2016 in Mt. Ayr, Iowa. Carson, who is seeking the nomination from the Republican Party is on the presidential campaign trail across Iowa ahead of the Iowa Caucus taking place February 1. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a Liberty University Convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 06: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks to the media before speaking at a gala for the Black Republican Caucus of South Florida at PGA National Resort on November 6, 2015 in Palm Beach, Florida. Carson has come under media scrutiny for possibly exaggerating his background and other statements he has made recently. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 16: Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson (L) eats a piece of pizza while touring the Iowa State Fair on August 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox stage and touring the fairgrounds. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LAKEWOOD, CO - OCTOBER 29: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a news conference before a campaign event at Colorado Christian University on October 29, 2015 in Lakewood, Colorado. Ben Carson was back on the campaign trail a day after the third republican debate held at the University of Colorado Boulder. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25: Scenes around the the Value Voters Summit on September 25, 2015 in Washington DC. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson takes the stage at the event. Dr Carson speaks to the media after the speach. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Attendees wait for Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, to arrive during a campaign stop at the birthplace of the Michigan Republican Party in Jackson, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Carson, the third candidate in the Republican race to have never held elected office, saw his numbers drop following the debate last week. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, listens as he attends a service at Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. Carson will be speaking at the Iowa State Fair, which is expected to host 18 presidential candidates and runs until Aug. 23. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson participates in the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, eats a slice of pizza as he tours the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. In a Sunday interview with Fox News, Carson doubled down on his assertion that a speech given by President Barack Obama intended to sell the American public on his nuclear deal with Iran contained 'coded innuendos employing standard anti-Semitic themes.' Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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At a news conference last Friday, Carson argued with reporters who were challenging his credibility. "Don't lie," the candidate said as he accused the media of "bias" and conducting a "witch hunt" against him.
At the debate, scheduled for Tuesday night in Milwaukee, he is expected to continue to make these charges in an effort to create sympathy for himself among conservatives.
Carson's supporters also say they will try to shift media and public attention to his record of saving lives and helping people as a doctor.
Carson has been under media scrutiny since he surged ahead of real-estate developer Donald Trump in some national and state polls.
Politico challenged Carson's past statements that he received a scholarship offer from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Carson has now acknowledged that there was no formal scholarship offer but he says he was told by military officials that if he had actually applied he would have received a scholarship because of his sterling academic record and leadership potential.
CNN has raised questions about whether Carson, as a teenager, tried to stab a close friend, a story that Carson has used to portray himself as a onetime troubled youth who rose above his problems to become a big success. Carson says CNN didn't talk to the right people and held to his original story.