Ben Carson on Wednesday condemned Ted CruzTed CruzTrump: Cruz is 'lucky' that I walked in on his speech Kasich leaves door open to Trump endorsement Instead of being bold, Clinton errs in picking Kaine MORE's campaign for spreading rumors during the Iowa caucuses that the retired neurosurgeon was quitting the presidential race, misinterpreting a news story.
During a quickly called press conference at Washington's National Press Club, Carson used Bible verses to raise questions about Cruz's character, in a move seemingly aimed at damaging the newly crowned Republican front-runner's standing among evangelical voters.
"By their fruit you will know them," said Carson, quoting Matthew 7:20. "You know people, not by what they say, but what they do. And how their lives are led."
"I hope you will judge all the other people who are running for this position by the same standards," he continued. "I think if we do that, we are less likely to make a mistake."
Asked whether he was calling Cruz a hypocrite, Carson said, "I didn't say a word about Ted Cruz. What I said is what we need to be able to do is look at a person's life ... look at the way a person treats other people, and make a judgment."
Carson later admitted he had called the press conference regarding the campaign tactics of the Texas senator.
Cruz apologized to Carson for the incident and the neurosurgeon said that when they spoke he claimed he knew nothing about what went on. Carson added that he thought the Cruz campaign's tactics cost him a lot of votes in Iowa and implied that Cruz should fire some members of his team.
Carson's religiously framed attack is significant because Cruz is trying to consolidate the evangelical base of the Republican Party. One of the few remaining obstacles is Carson, who remains popular among evangelicals.
"He could very well have not known about it," Carson said of Cruz. "[But] we have to look at the obvious things that are going on."