Cruz won't punish campaign staff for touting Carson report

Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day HHS official put on leave amid probe into social media posts Trump, Pence to address CPAC this week MORE on Wednesday brushed aside Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonHUD watchdog looking into involvement of Carson's family at agency Ethics watchdog calls for probe of Carson family role at federal agency Thanks to Trump and Pence, America's relationship with Israel is stronger than ever MORE's call to reprimand his campaign staff for fanning the impression that Carson was ending his campaign on the night of the Iowa caucus.

"I don't make it a practice of disciplining people for passing on public news reports," the Texas senator said on Mike Gallagher's radio program. 

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Cruz reiterated that his political staff circulated a CNN report on Monday night during the caucus indicating Carson was returning to Florida instead of going to New Hampshire or South Carolina, the next primary states.

The Texas senator said that his aides did not circulate a follow-up report clarifying that Carson was simply returning home to Florida for a brief break from the campaign trail but was in fact continuing on with his presidential campaign. 

"The news turned out to be accurate — he did indeed return to Florida. That was news that the voters were interested in," Cruz said Wednesday, apologizing to Carson if his staff passing on the news report caused Carson "discomfort."

On Tuesday night, after Cruz apologized for not circulating the clarifying report, Carson questioned the "culture" of the senator's campaign where "people to take advantage of a situation like this in a very dishonest way."

“Isn’t this the same thing we see with the Obama administration?” Carson asked on Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor," mentioning the IRS scandal. 

“Let’s see what in fact the Cruz campaign will do about those individuals who inappropriately disseminated this information knowing that the caucuses were not over,” he told host Bill O’Reilly. “They were absolutely anxious to get it out there, weren't they?”

Cruz brushed off that suggestion on Wednesday, saying on Gallagher's program, "I don't make a practice of scapegoating staff members when it's politically convenient." 

Cruz, who won the Iowa caucus ahead of Donald Trump and Sen. Rand Paul (Fla.), also on Wednesday sought to attract supporters of Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), who ended his campaign earlier in the day.

"We have tremendous support in the liberty movement," Cruz said. "I certainly hope the Rand Paul supporters come and join us, they are welcome."