Carson says 'senior team' staying in place despite shake-up speculation


Ben Carson insisted Wednesday that his “senior team” is staying in place, after saying in an earlier interview that “personnel changes” may be coming. 

Carson earlier told The Associated Press, in an interview at his Maryland home reportedly conducted without the knowledge of his campaign manager, that changes could be coming and that “everything is on the table.” 

"Every single thing is on the table. I'm looking carefully,” he told the AP. 

But the GOP presidential candidate released a brief statement Wednesday afternoon describing the changes as minor. 

“I have 100 percent confidence in my campaign team. We have come a long way and accomplished great things together, and together we look forward to winning in Iowa and beyond. We are refining some operational practices and streamlining some staff assignments to more aptly match the tasks ahead, but my senior team remains in place with my full confidence, and they will continue to execute our campaign plan,” he said. 

Campaign manager Barry Bennett declined to make any immediate comment when told of Carson's remarks. "I'm getting ready to have a conversation with him. Why don't I have that conversation and call you back."

The apparent rift between the candidate and his political team comes after his weeks-long slide in the polls. The political newcomer — a celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon — briefly surged to the top of the GOP field in October, riding public appeal for more anti-establishment candidates, while making headway with Christian and conservative voters.

With the spotlight came scrutiny. Carson publicly lashed out at media reports questioning details of his celebrated autobiography.

Terrorist attacks in Paris and California shifted the focus of the race to foreign policy and national security, sometimes highlighting Carson's lack of experience. Another challenge: He is soft-spoken in a race dominated by media-savvy, tough-talking figures including real estate mogul Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

"I certainly don't expect to get through a campaign without some scratches and bruises," Carson said. "That's the nature of the beast."

Fox News’ Patrick Ward and The Associated Press contributed to this report