Iowa - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is equating Ben Carson's childhood "pathological temper" to the illness of a child molester and asking how "stupid" voters are for supporting his closest competitor.
Trump, once the undisputed poll leader, is now running neck-and-neck with Carson in many opinion surveys.
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Carson's ability to overcome his anger and an impoverished childhood to become a world-renowned neurosurgeon has been a central part of his personal story. He has written that on one occasion he nearly punched his mother and on another he attempted to stab a friend with a knife.
"I had what I only can label a pathological temper a disease, and this sickness controlled me, making me totally irrational," Carson has said.
Trump attacked Carson over those comments Thursday. "That's a big problem because you don't cure that," the billionaire real estate mogul told CNN in an interview. "That's like, you know, I could say, they say you don't cure, as an example, child molester. You don't cure these people. You don't cure the child molester."
And during a rally Thursday night, Trump questioned Carson's description of racing to the bathroom in his house after one incident and beginning to pray for God's help in dealing with his temper.
"God heard my deep cries of anguish. A feeling of lightness flowed over me, and I knew a change of heart had taken place," Carson wrote in his memoir.
"Give me a break. Give me a break. It doesn't happen that way," Trump told the rally. "Don't be fools."
A spokesman for Carson declined to comment on Trump's remarks.