ben carson campaign polls independent henderson sot nr_00014412.jpg
Getty Images
ben carson campaign polls independent henderson sot nr_00014412.jpg
Now playing
02:29
Ben Carson's campaign in crisis
ben carson brett kavanaugh allegation fabians bts vpx _00000310.jpg
pool
ben carson brett kavanaugh allegation fabians bts vpx _00000310.jpg
Now playing
01:08
Carson on big picture of Kavanaugh allegation
House Appropriations HRG: FY2019 HUD Budget (Secy Carson testifies)  FY19 Budget - Department of Housing and Urban Development   Witness The Honorable Ben Carson  Secretary Department of Housing and Urban Development
POOL
House Appropriations HRG: FY2019 HUD Budget (Secy Carson testifies) FY19 Budget - Department of Housing and Urban Development Witness The Honorable Ben Carson Secretary Department of Housing and Urban Development
Now playing
02:28
Carson confronted about furniture cost
ben carson calls slaves immigrants sot_00014312.jpg
ben carson calls slaves immigrants sot_00014312.jpg
Now playing
01:51
Ben Carson refers to slaves as immigrants
US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson (L) is congratulated by US Vice President Mike Pence (R) as his wife Candy Carson (2L) and granddaughter Tesora Carson watch during his swearing in ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson (L) is congratulated by US Vice President Mike Pence (R) as his wife Candy Carson (2L) and granddaughter Tesora Carson watch during his swearing in ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:52
Did Ben Carson lie about $31K dining set?
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 12:  U.S. Housing and Urban Development  Secretary Ben Carson visits Colllins Park apartment complex on April 12, 2017 in Miami, Florida.  Secretary Carson is on a national listening tour to hear from the people and organizations who rely on and support public housing. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 12: U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson visits Colllins Park apartment complex on April 12, 2017 in Miami, Florida. Secretary Carson is on a national listening tour to hear from the people and organizations who rely on and support public housing. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:48
Ben Carson gets trapped in elevator
Ben Carson HUD hearing qualifications_00000000.jpg
Pool
Ben Carson HUD hearing qualifications_00000000.jpg
Now playing
01:45
Dr. Ben Carson addresses HUD qualifications
EXETER, NH - SEPTEMBER 30: September 30, 2015 in Exeter, New Hampshire. Carson has risen in the most recent polls to pull almost even with front runner Donald Trump.
Darren McCollester/Getty Images
EXETER, NH - SEPTEMBER 30: September 30, 2015 in Exeter, New Hampshire. Carson has risen in the most recent polls to pull almost even with front runner Donald Trump.
Now playing
00:51
Friend: Carson didn't live in public housing
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 2:  Ben Carson speaks after being sworn in as secretary of housing and urban development  by Vice President Mike Pence on March 2, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 2: Ben Carson speaks after being sworn in as secretary of housing and urban development by Vice President Mike Pence on March 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:12
Ben Carson's surprising path into politics
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
00:45
Ben Carson: Poverty is a state of mind
Now playing
01:12
Rep. Waters presses Ben Carson on Puerto Rico
CNN
Now playing
02:12
Pundit likens Carson to Wu-Tang Clan rapper
Carson Obama raised white politico nr_00003205.jpg
CNN
Carson Obama raised white politico nr_00003205.jpg
Now playing
01:25
Ben Carson: Obama was 'raised white'
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03:  Republican Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks to the media at the National Press Club February 3, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Republican Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks to the media at the National Press Club February 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:49
Ben Carson suggests medical ways to extract information
Ben Carson muslim donald trump intv tapper lead_00000102.jpg
Ben Carson muslim donald trump intv tapper lead_00000102.jpg
Now playing
02:10
Ben Carson: All U.S. visitors should be registered
ben carson syrian refugee camp visit sot SOTU_00005312.jpg
Ben Carson for President 2016
ben carson syrian refugee camp visit sot SOTU_00005312.jpg
Now playing
02:37
Carson: Refugees' true desire 'to be resettled in Syria'

Story highlights

Ben Carson criticized Ted Cruz's time raising money and attending parties

The criticism comes as Cruz gains steam in GOP primary polls and Carson drops

CNN —  

Ben Carson is hemorrhaging support to Ted Cruz in the polls – and now he’s sharpening his attacks on the Texas senator.

Carson argued he’s spent his life making life-or-death operating calls instead of attending swanky parties and raised campaign cash in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

“There’s no question as I haven’t spent a lot of time schmoozing and asking for big money and going to cocktail parties, but I’ve spent many a night in the operating room – cold, sterile place with a little child’s life on the line working very hard to preserve that,” Carson said.

“You know, it’s a very different kind of experience,” he said. “Lots of 2 a.m. in the morning calls and making snap decisions on what needs to be done.”

RELATED: National poll: Trump leads; Cruz rises as Carson falls

Carson’s comments come after Cruz had questioned support for both Carson and Trump at a private donor event, according to audio leaked to The New York Times.

“Who is prepared to be a commander-in-chief? Who understands the threats we face? Who am I comfortable having their finger on the button,” Cruz said. “Now that’s a question of strength, but it’s also a question of judgment. And I think that is a question that is a challenging question for voters.”

It’s an escalation of a fight between the two candidates that comes as polls in Iowa and nationally show Cruz picking up Carson’s support as the retired brain surgeon – once briefly the GOP’s front-runner – sinks to fourth place, behind Donald Trump, Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

READ: Iowa poll: Ted Cruz leads Donald Trump

While Carson took aim at Cruz on Sunday, a bigger fight between Cruz and Trump has also been brewing.

Trump countered Cruz’s assertion that he can’t match Cruz’s judgment as well, recounting to CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” a list of examples he believes he’s had better judgment.

READ: Trump: “I have far better judgment” than Cruz

“I was against going into Iraq,” Trump told Tapper in an interview that aired Sunday on “State of the Union.” “That’s good judgment. I was for bombing (ISIS’s) oil long before anyone else was talking about it. That’s good judgment. I have great judgment. I would say I have far better judgment than Ted.”

Cruz had told donors in the leaked audio that he believes “gravity will bring both of those campaigns down.” He acknowledged, though, that he hasn’t been publicly critical of Trump.

Cruz described his strategy by saying: “So my approach, much to the frustration of the media, has been to bear hug both of them, and smother them with love.”

Still, Trump said the two must inevitably clash, even though Cruz has been “so nice to me.”

He predicted he’ll outlast Cruz “because I’m more capable. Because I have a much better temperament. Because I actually get along with people much better than he does.”

Those battles are likely to come to a head when the candidates meet in person Tuesday night for CNN’s Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas.