|Ben Carson, Ted Cruz|
In a strongly worded statement on Wednesday evening, CNN said, "Senator Cruz's claims about CNN are false. At no point did the network indicate Dr. Carson would suspend his campaign."
Later in the evening, Cruz acknowledged that "CNN got it correct."
According to CNN, the controversy stems from a CNN scoop that was broadcast Monday night, minutes before the Iowa caucuses began. Reporter Chris Moody received information from the Carson campaign that he would be taking a break from the campaign trail after Iowa.
Moody, and the other CNN reporters who followed up on the report, said Carson would continue campaigning after taking a break at home in Florida. His next stop, they said, would be Washington, D.C., for the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.
During CNN's live coverage, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash called the move "very unusual," but said nothing about Carson dropping out of the race.
Somewhere along the way, the story got twisted. Cruz campaign aides alerted supporters in Iowa that Carson might be a goner. Before long there were allegations that the Cruz campaign had suppressed Carson's vote total by spreading rumors that Carson was giving up on the race.
Shortly after the CNN report came out, Carson's campaign downplayed the significance, saying the candidate needed a fresh set of clothes. Meanwhile, political analysts generally agreed with Tapper and Bash's assessment that it was unusual for a presidential candidate to not rush to New Hampshire. Virtually all of Carson's rivals hurried to New Hampshire after the caucuses.
The next morning, Carson's side started lambasting Cruz for "dirty tricks." This prompted a half-apology from Cruz that pointed a finger at CNN.