Presidential candidate Ben Carson defends recollection of offer to attend prestigious U.S. Military Academy at West Point.Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Friday he never applied to nor was accepted to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, after his recollection of being offered a scholarship to the prestigious U.S. Military Academy at West Point was questioned on Friday. "It was an offer to me," he told a news conference Friday referring to West Point. "I made it very clear..... They told me this was available to me because of my accomplishment, and that they would be delighted for me to do it, and I told them immediately that my intention was to become a physician, it always has been and I was very honored. but I would not be pursing that." The neurosurgeon's campaign, is tied with rival Donald Trump at the top of Republican presidential primary polls. The details of a scholarship were included in Carson's account of a meeting with General William Westmoreland in 1969 when Carson was a high school student in the ROTC program, which provides preliminary military training for students interested in becoming officers. In Carson's 1990 autobiography, 'Gifted Hands,' he wrote: "Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point." He added that despite turning the offer down, "As overjoyed as I felt to be offered such a scholarship, I wasn't really tempted." Carson's campaign said on Friday that his grades and conversations with ROTC officials constituted a de facto acceptance to the academy, which provides full scholarships to all of its students. West Point confirmed on Friday there was no record of Carson completing an application for admission. The differing accounts of Carson's West Point scholarship were first reported by political news website POLITICO, which headlined its story 'Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship.' Carson's campaign contested that interpretation.