The White House on Monday rejected Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s claim that he is facing tougher scrutiny than President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team The Memo: Biden looks for way to win back deflated Black voters 6 in 10 say they would back someone other than Biden in 2024: Fox News poll MORE did during his 2008 campaign.
“I don’t agree with that statement,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
Earnest said Carson should not be surprised that he’s being peppered with tough questions about his background now that he has risen to the top of the GOP primary polls.
“It isn’t easy to run for president,” Earnest said. “People who run for office are going to have their claims scrutinized.”
Carson has lashed out at the media in recent days, after reports cast doubt on elements of his extraordinary life story, accusing members of the press of conducting a “witch hunt” against him.
A Politico report claimed Carson fabricated a story from his youth about being offered a full scholarship to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Another report from CNN questioned whether the candidate embellished tales of his violent childhood in Detroit.
The GOP candidate said the media is displaying a double standard, arguing that news outlets in 2008 had little interest in Obama’s relationships with figures like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., and left-wing radical activist Bill Ayers.
“I do not remember this level of scrutiny for one President Barack Obama when he was running,” Carson said last Friday. “In fact I remember just the opposite.”
But Earnest reminded reporters that Obama also faced false accusations from opponents that he is not a U.S. citizen, and therefore ineligible to serve as president.
The Obama aide said the difference is Carson is being scrutinized about claims he made about his own biography.
“The claims about him were difficult to disprove, at least to the satisfaction of our harshest critics,” Earnest said of Obama.