Why did two presidential candidates walk into a closet together?

Ted Cruz asked Ben Carson on Thursday night to meet with him privately, the Carson campaign confirmed to CBS News.

The meeting was called to discuss the Cruz campaign's tactics during the Iowa caucuses in which it spread a false rumor to voters about Carson dropping out of the race at that point.

In a statement provided to CBS, the Carson campaign said, "Clearly they (the Cruz campaign) thought the meeting would produce something for them politically" and that "it appears that Cruz still resists accepting any responsibility."

The meeting, which was first reported by The Daily Beast, happened in a storage closet just before the Conservative Review convention, according to the report. There may not have been chairs or lights in the closet, the report said. A GOP operative who witnessed the meeting told The Daily Beast that the two candidates were in the closet for about 20 to 25 minutes as Carson's Secret Service detail waited outside.

Carson wanted the meeting to remain off the record, and suggested that the Cruz campaign leaked it to the press. The retired neurosurgeon said earlier this month that Cruz had asked for a one-on-one meeting to discuss what happened on the night of the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1.

Jason Osborne, senior communications strategist, for Carson's campaign told The Daily Beast that the candidate was informed about the meeting late and didn't have time to prepare and as a result it "did not go well."

Their secret meeting comes before South Carolina's GOP primary on Saturday.

CBS News' Erica Brown contributed to this story.

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.