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Ben Carson Speaking at the National Press Club - Katie Frates-Daily Caller Ben Carson Speaking at the National Press Club - Katie Frates-Daily Caller  

Ben Carson Does Not Think Obamacare Is Worse Than 9/11, Says Aide

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

An aide to Ben Carson tells The Daily Caller that the neurosurgeon and potential presidential candidate does not think Obamacare is worse than the 9/11 attacks, accusing a news outlet of misrepresenting Carson’s position.

Meanwhile, the reporter for The Daily Beast says he stands by his report.

In a phone interview Thursday, Carson aide Armstrong Williams strongly contested a story published Thursday by The Daily Beast with the headline: “Really, Dr. Carson? Obamacare Is Worse Than 9/11?”

“He thinks that’s crazy,” Williams told TheDC. “You cant compare anything to 9/11.”

In a story about Carson on Thursday, The Daily Beast reported: “The Republican presidential hopeful thinks that Obamacare has caused Americans more pain than jetliners crashing into the World Trade Center and two costly wars.”

Reporter Evan Gahr — who recently interviewed Carson in person — asked Carson if he thinks Obamacare is worse than 9/11. The neurosurgeon has previously said the health care law is the worst thing since slavery.

Gahr reported the exchange with Carson this way:

“You said Obamacare was the worst thing since slavery. Why do you think it was worse than 9/11?” I asked him.

“Because 9/11 is an isolated incident,” he answered.

But Williams says that report is misleading.

“It was a bait,” Williams told TheDC of Gahr. “He just started saying, ‘well, is it worse than this? Is it worse than that?’ It was just hostile. Carson didn’t respond.”

Williams said Carson was mocking and repeating Gahr when he said the phrase “because 9/11 is an isolated incident” but never agreed with the premise of the question.

“That’s why I ended it,” Williams said of the interview. “When I realized that this guy would probably take this and turn it into a story.”

Asked if Carson has ever thought or said that Obamacare is worse than 9/11, Armstrong said: “Never. Ever… He was just as stunned as I was when I saw the story.”

“It was never said,” Williams repeated. “The guy took his mocking him to say he’s agreeing with him.”

According to emails obtained by The Daily Caller, Williams and Gahr have been sparring about the report since it was published on Thursday.

At 11:34 A.M, Gahr wrote to Williams:

The Daily Beast posted my story about the interview with him. His comments about Obamacare being worse than 9/11 are getting picked up all over the internet.

At 11: 43 A.M, Williams responded:

He never said Obamacare was worse than 9/11. You manipulated this story. Why don’t you go back to your tape recording of the interview and reexamine the facts.

Gahr, at 11:58, replied:

I published what he said verbatim.

“You said Obamacare was the worst thing since slavery. Why do you think it was worse than 9/11?” I asked him.

“Because 9/11 is an isolated incident,” he answered.

So just what did I “manipulate” here?

Reached for comment by TheDC, Gahr stood by his story and attacked Carson’s spokesman.

“Williams, who like Carson got rich and famous by being a beleaguered black conservative, should take heed of my grandmother Ruth Goldstock’s adage that if you are going to lie you need a good memory,” Gahr said in an email. “I asked Carson why he thought 9/11 was worse than Obamacare and he proceeded to explain in great detail why he believed that to be the case–namely ‘because’ 9/11 was merely an ‘isolated’ occurrence.”

Gahr also disputed Williams’ explanation that Carson was mocking him. “There were no words–i.e, statements by me–to repeat.”

“I dare Williams to get Carson on the phone with me and then we can clear up the supposed confusion,” he said.

He added: “In any event, Williams should just dispense with his little McCarthyite jujitsu and have Carson apologize to the families of 9/11 victims and all the men and women killed in the two wars that the ‘isolated’ incident precipitated.”

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