Ben Carson said Sunday that his campaign is in a “different ball game,” days after the stunning resignation of three high-ranking members of the retired neurosurgeon’s campaign staff.
In an interview with ABC on Sunday, Carson cast the departures of those aides — campaign manager Barry Bennett, communications director Doug Watts, and deputy campaign manager Lisa Coen — as a shakeup that reflects the growing pains of a presidential bid that has exceeded expectations.
“No one predicted that we would even be in the hunt,” Carson said, referencing the original perception of his campaign’s prospects. “And you know, a novice in this area with no background, no campaign, no funding mechanism — so it really is quite spectacular what we were able to do.”
“But the fact of the matter is, now we’re in a different ball game, and we need the ability to execute and not just to have good ideas.”
ABC host Martha Raddatz pressed Carson about whether he was about to fire any of his staff. He hinted in response that some staffers were not happy with his decision to promote former Major Gen. Bob Dees to campaign manager.
“Well, I did a deep dive,” Carson said. “And you know one of the things that I learned in my many years in corporate America is that you have to have the ability to execute a plan. And we didn’t really have that. So I brought in someone, Gen. Bob Dees, who has a lot of experience with execution. And you know, there were some who decided under those circumstances it would be too difficult for them to work.”
As Carson has sunk in polls over the past month, his campaign has become riled with internal strife. In December, the retired neurosurgeon hinted that he was planning staff-shakeups, but seemed to backpedal after those comments with multiple media outlets were published.
Bennett, speaking with The Washington Post last week after leaving his position, said the campaign’s leadership had become mired in internal conflict over the way that Carson should run his campaign.
“The internal [expletive] became what the campaign was about. It was sad. Petty. It became mind numbing to me,” Bennett said, according to The Post. “Having worked so hard on building up the fundraising operation and getting millions behind Dr. Carson so he’d be ready for 2016, I got pulled into this [expletive]. It’s not why I got in this business.”
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