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Story highlights

Ben Carson jokingly wondered Tuesday if prior campaign aides intentionally undermined his campaign by bleeding it of money.

"We had people who didn't really seem to understand finances," a laughing Carson told CNN's Poppy Harlow on Tuesday

(CNN) —  

Ben Carson jokingly wondered Tuesday if former aides intentionally undermined his campaign by bleeding it of money.

Carson parted with a handful of top advisers, including his campaign manager, Barry Bennett, at the turn of the new year. He has been one of the Republican field’s most outstanding fundraisers, but his campaign reinvests much of that money into raising more and has not posted as much cash on hand as some of his rivals.

“We had people who didn’t really seem to understand finances,” a laughing Carson told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on “CNN Newsroom,” adding, “or maybe they did – maybe they were doing it on purpose.”

He raised $3.8 million in the month of January, a far slower fundraising clip than he had enjoyed last fall, when he was briefly a national front-runner. But he still had $4.1 million on hand as of January 31, more than that of GOP contender John Kasich.

Carson, who finished sixth in South Carolina’s Republican primary on Saturday, said the rough transition had nevertheless boosted his campaign.

“Obviously, things have improved tremendously since that time,” Carson said. “The morale is much better.”