Carson says he's open to supporting either Trump or Cruz

Story highlights

  • Former presidential candidate Ben Carson gave his first interview Wednesday night since dropping out of the presidential race
  • Carson told CNN's Erin Burnett that the GOP should focus on facts, not fights

Washington (CNN)Ben Carson said Wednesday he is open to supporting either GOP front-runner Donald Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president.

"You have to consider all the information, who is most likely to win, and what kind of shenanigans will drive voters away so they will not participate in the process. We have to be very careful in all those things," the retired neurosurgeon told CNN's Erin Burnett on "OutFront" in his first interview since dropping out of the 2016 race.
    Carson also applauded Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for saying he regrets some of the comments he's made about Trump.
    "I'm glad to see that Marco has come to the understanding that that is not presidential-type behavior. I hope everyone else will come to that soon because the issues that face us as a nation are incredibly serious," Carson said.
    Carson's comments come the day before Thursday's presidential debate, hosted by CNN. The previous debate last week featured intense fighting that repeatedly turned personal between Cruz, Rubio and Trump.
    "I think the debate tomorrow will be instructive," Carson said when asked whether he'd endorse a candidate. "I believe all four of the remaining candidates love America. I believe they all want to see solutions. They just have to maintain the kind of discipline that will allow them to talk about those things for the American people so they can make an appropriate decision."
    When asked about running for Rubio's Senate seat this fall, Carson said he has no intention of doing that, reiterating a comment he made last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
    "What I intend to do is to just continue to work on those things that will save the next generation. That's my focus right now," he said.
    Carson's interview came hours after The Washington Post published an op-ed by him advising his fellow Republicans -- who could share the ballot with Trump this fall -- that they need to consider how to handle the real-estate mogul.
    "With such a polarizing figure at the top of the ticket, the political ramifications are not as easy to decipher," Carson wrote.
    He then broke down the GOP White House and downballot hopefuls' options on how to handle the mogul's candidacy. Carson laid out the options: "Dump Trump," "Cuddle Trump," "Lone Wolf," "Prius Trump" and "the Ryan test."
    "Taking a cue from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), they will not condone, and, instead, will aggressively attack any Trump policy that directly harms the Republican brand," Carson wrote.
    The "Lone Wolf" approach involves "not truly repudiating or embracing Trump," and the "Prius approach" is a hybrid of pointing out the good in Trump as well as the bad.