Cruz has already positioned himself as a possible heir to Donald Trump supporters, should the real estate billionaire eventually leave the race. If he can add Carson supporters as well, Cruz could emerge as a powerful force to potentially win the Republican nomination. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will also make a play for Carson supporters but he runs in a somewhat different lane, with more appeal to establishment and Wall Street Republicans than staunch tea party conservatives.
It is hard to imagine how Carson can recover from the revelation that he simply made up the story that he received a full scholarship to one of America's top military academies.
In his book, Carson wrote: "I was offered a full scholarship to West Point."
But pressed by Politico, the Carson campaign admitted on Friday that was not the case.
"He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors," a campaign official told Politico's Kyle Cheney. "They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission."
Following the Politico story on Friday, Carson told The New York Times: "I don't remember all the specific details. Because I had done so extraordinarily well you know I was told that someone like me – they could get a scholarship to West Point. But I made it clear I was going to pursue a career in medicine."
"It was, you know, an informal 'with a record like yours we could easily get you a scholarship to West Point.'"