This got ugly in a hurry. First, there was this piece in the New York Times, which cast aspersions on Dr. Carson’s ability to grasp foreign policy. This wasn’t the usual “unnamed source” garbage the MSM loves to use when doing hatchet jobs on Republicans, it was directly quoting on of Carson’s top advisers.
Mr. Clarridge, who contacted Mr. Carson nearly two years ago to offer his services without pay, has helped the candidate prepare for debates. But the briefings do not always seem to sink in, Mr. Clarridge acknowledged. After Mr. Carson struggled on “Fox News Sunday” to say whom he would call first to form a coalition against the Islamic State, Mr. Clarridge called Mr. Williams, the candidate’s top adviser, in frustration. “We need to have a conference call once a week where his guys roll out the subjects they think will be out there, and we can make him smart,” Mr. Clarridge said he told Mr. Williams.
Given some of Carson’s recent, um, hiccups, on foreign policy, this didn’t feel like boilerplate media bias fare. And Clarridge isn’t exactly a nobody in foreign intelligence circles.
Clarridge was repeatedly described by The Times as a top Carson foreign-policy adviser, though Clarridge’s exact role in the Carson campaign was not immediately clear. Carson’s campaign pushed back on that description of Clarridge, and suggested the paper was taking “advantage of an elderly gentleman.”
“Mr. Clarridge has incomplete knowledge of the daily, not weekly briefings, that Dr. Carson receives on important national security matters from former military and State Department officials,” Doug Watts, a Carson campaign spokesman, told Business Insider in an email.
“He is coming to the end of a long career of serving our country. Mr. Clarridge’s input to Dr. Carson is appreciated but he is clearly not one of Dr. Carson’s top advisors. For the New York Times to take advantage of an elderly gentleman and use him as their foil in this story is an affront to good journalistic practices.”
The response is not only insulting, it’s nonsensical. If Carson is having more briefings than Clarridge thought he was, why is he still fumbling all over himself at times? Your average avid right-wing blog reader could probably quickly tick off a list of countries they’d like to form a coalition to battle ISIS without any briefings.
Carson’s popularity has been fun to watch, if only because it gives Trump fits. As a candidate, he remains a brilliant brain surgeon, however.