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Something very odd is going on with Ben Carson’s campaign: While he raises a considerable amount of money, and has emerged in the polls as currently the most prominent challenger to Donald Trump, he is also taking time off from official campaign events to promote his new book.

On MSNBC’s Meet The Press, Chuck Todd welcomed Carson’s business manager Armstrong Williams — a longtime presence in conservative talk radio and activism,

“I say this with all due respect: Is he running for president, to be president — or is he running for president, to promote his other enterprises?” Todd asked. “Because this looks like an attempt to run for president in order to promote another enterprise, in this case a book.”

“Well Chuck, in all due respect, it’s just not true. Dr. Carson has not suspended his campaign, and while Dr. Carson may be on a book tour, the media still ask questions about his campaign, about his policies — you can’t give the media a different directive to talk about his book. When he’s on the road, he’s still talking to policy people, he’s still on the phone dealing with his campaign. He’s meeting with voters, he’s working on columns and essays to be published in different newspapers across the country.

Williams also asserted that Carson is not the only candidate to go on a book tour, and that Carson is still very much in touch with the campaign: “Chuck, it’s unavoidable.”

“Well he also did a paid speech while as an active candidate,” Todd countered. “Plenty of candidates have done book tours before — but they usually do it before they actually announce. So that’s why I throw this question out at you.”

“Well you know what? We don’t have a problem with capitalism and the American Way,” Williams counters. “It’s okay for people to make money in a honest and moral and legal and ethical way. We don’t apologize for that. Everyone has to make the money — they’ve got to survive — and sometimes these things happen. But it’s no indication that Dr. Carson is not committed to the American people, not committed to his candidacy for president of the United States.

“And you must admit,” Williams concluded. “Despite all the things that you’ve challenged me on, he continues to do quite well. I wonder why?”

Photo: U.S. Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks during the Heritage Action for America presidential candidate forum in Greenville, South Carolina September 18, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Keane

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