Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson has temporarily suspended his campaign to spend two weeks selling books.

National Review‘s Jim Geraghty pointed to an ABC News article explaining Dr. Carson’s decision:

Republican presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson has put his public campaign events on hold for two more weeks to go on book tour for his new tome “A More Perfect Union” and catch up on fundraising events.

The campaign has been careful to separate campaign events and the book tour, and doesn’t want to classify the tour as related to the campaign in any way.

This week he is catching up on fundraising events and will be back on his book tour next week making stops in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. So for the next two weeks, Carson won’t be appearing at any public “campaign events.”

Carson will be going back and forth between campaign fundraising events and book tour events over the next two weeks. His campaign says he has over 20 campaign fundraising events scheduled over that time period.

The campaign says the next time they will appear publicly with Carson will be the day of the next GOP debate on Oct. 28. His last public campaign event was Oct. 2.

Carson’s campaign staff will not travel with him while on tour, noting that it’s better to stay off the trail for fear of being accused of using campaign assets to sell books.

“It’s a question of co-mingling from the corporate standpoint to the Federal Election Commission standpoint so it’s just better to avoid any bad appearance,” spokesman Doug Watts told ABC News.

They’re being careful with FEC regs, I get it. But Carson and Trump are in a dead heat for the coveted title of “GOP Frontrunner.” Suspending a campaign on the brink of knocking Trump off the thrown seems ill advised.

The national stats from Real Clear Politics:

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Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your thoughts here), the campaign suspension, albeit temporary, certainly doesn’t abate criticism suggesting Carson is not running for president to win the White House, but to sell books and elevate his public profile.

But in the year of the outsider, is Carson’s campaign decision outlandishly unconventional?

Josh Kraushaar of National Journal doesn’t think so. He sees Carson’s campaign as one run similar to Carter’s 1976 White House bid.

But the same points could be made of Jimmy Carter’s out-of-nowhere pres­id­en­tial cam­paign in 1976—one that led to him be­com­ing the 39th pres­id­ent of the United States. And to un­der­stand why Car­son is per­form­ing so well in the Re­pub­lic­an primary field des­pite his ab­ject lack of gov­ern­ing ex­per­i­ence, Carter’s pres­id­en­tial bid—and the na­tion­al en­vir­on­ment sur­round­ing his can­did­acy—is an im­port­ant start.

It can be pre­sump­tu­ous to com­pare elec­tions, but the polit­ic­al en­vir­on­ment of 1976 is about as close to a re­cent par­al­lel as you can find to the one shap­ing today’s volat­ile cam­paign. Four dec­ades ago, in the wake of the Wa­ter­gate scan­dal, voters lost trust in Wash­ing­ton, and viewed those with polit­ic­al ex­per­i­ence skep­tic­ally. The crowded Demo­crat­ic field was filled with sen­at­ors and con­gress­men (Mo Ud­all, Scoop Jack­son, and Birch Bayh among them), none of whom con­nec­ted with the pub­lic. In­fla­tion was drag­ging down the eco­nomy, which had been stag­nant for years. Ter­ror­ism was emer­ging as a pop­u­lar tac­tic in­ter­na­tion­ally. The in­cum­bent party was tain­ted by scan­dal, and Pres­id­ent Ford was dam­aged by as­so­ci­ation after par­don­ing Richard Nix­on—while fa­cing an in­sur­gent chal­lenge from Ron­ald Re­agan. The coun­try was clearly headed down the wrong track, in the minds of voters, and that mani­fes­ted it­self in that year’s elec­tion res­ults.

Enter Carter, who was as un­con­ven­tion­al of a Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate as it got back then. He was as much as an out­sider with­in the Demo­crat­ic party then as Car­son is now. He won his lone cam­paign for gov­ernor of Geor­gia in 1970 by court­ing con­ser­vat­ives in a ra­cially-charged cam­paign that at­tacked his Demo­crat­ic op­pon­ent as an urb­an lib­er­al. Carter’s pres­id­en­tial cam­paign showed sur­pris­ing grass­roots strength by fo­cus­ing his ef­forts on the then-in­sig­ni­fic­ant Iowa caucuses, fin­ish­ing ahead of all the oth­er can­did­ates in the race.

…Car­son, like­wise, is about as un­con­ven­tion­al as a Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate as you could come up with. He’s Afric­an-Amer­ic­an, and grew up in poverty in in­ner-city De­troit. He was such a suc­cess­ful neurosur­geon at Johns Hop­kins Uni­versity that Cuba Good­ing Jr. starred in a movie about his ca­reer. His only ex­per­i­ence with polit­ics was when he at­tacked the pres­id­ent’s health care law to his face at the 2013 Na­tion­al Pray­er Break­fast. He’s one of the best-fin­anced Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates in a crowded field—with over $30 mil­lion raised at the end of Septem­ber—thanks to a wide­spread grass­roots fun­drais­ing net­work.

Barring the ignorant “unconventional African-American Republican” nonsense, it’s hard to argue with Kraushaar on this one. Very little about Carson’s campaign seems to adhere to conventional wisdom.

ABC reports Carson’s absence from the campaign trail hasn’t proved detrimental to his poll numbers.

The lack of public campaign events doesn’t seem to be hurting his visibility or influx of donations. Watts says they have raised $3 million so far this month and have about 15,000 pieces of mail sitting at the post office that average about $50 a donation, which is not included in the monthly total.

The book proceeds are personal, and are not connected to Dr. Carson’s presidential campaign, however the campaign does note they are indirectly making money off the book and views its release during a time when he is polling so high as beneficial.

Touting his recent poll numbers, the campaign says it is not worried Carson isn’t out and about as much.

The only thing clear about the 2016 cycle is that nothing about the 2016 cycle is clear.

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UPDATE: Maybe ABC News should’ve checked with Carson’s campaign?

From Jim Geraghty at National Review:

Ying Ma, the deputy communications director for the Ben Carson campaign, tells me that “rumors about Dr. Ben Carson suspending his campaign are all nonsense. We will be holding multiple fundraisers and public/semi-public events between now and the next GOP debate.”

She adds: Nothing about that even remotely indicates a suspension. It is true that Dr. Carson has been appearing in numerous interviews about his new book, but even during these interviews, he’s talking about the campaign and his vision for America. The confusion about the suspension originated from a story written by an ABC reporter who was an embed on our campaign bus. She has not been invited to participate in our fundraisers (which are all closed to the press), and she certainly isn’t accompanying Dr. Carson to his interviews about his new book. Unfortunately, she has interpreted her lack of access to him as a suspension of the campaign. She is very much mistaken.

As of 3:48 this afternoon, ABC was still reporting “Republican presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson has put his public campaign events on hold for two more weeks to go on book tour for his new tome “A More Perfect Union” and catch up on fundraising events.”

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