(CNSNews.com) - Ben Carson says people may mistake his softspokenness with a lack of energy. But that's not the case, he told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.
"I have plenty of energy," Carson said. "But you know, I am soft spoken. I do have a tendency to be relaxed. I wasn't always like that. There was a time when I was, you know, very volatile. But I changed," he said.
"As a teenager, I would go after people with rocks and bricks and baseball bats and hammers and, of course, many people know the story when I was 14 and I tried to stab someone. And, you know, fortunately my life has been changed and I'm a very different person now."
Carson did not explain what caused him to change, and host Chuck Todd did not ask.
Over the weekend, Carson's rival Donald Trump told a campaign rally that Carson has pulled ahead of him in the Iowa polls: "We have a breaking story," Trump told the crowd. "Donald Trump has fallen to second place behind Ben Carson. We informed Ben, but he was sleeping."
Trump has criticized both Carson and Jeb Bush for their "low energy."
Asked to respond to Trump's jibe, Carson told "Meet the Press" on Sunday, "Everybody has their own personality, and if he'd like to do that, that's fine. That's not who I am. And I don't get into the mud pit, and I'm not going to be talking about people.
"I will tell you in terms of energy, I'm not sure that there's anybody else running who's spent 18 or 20 hours intently operating on somebody," the retired pediatric neurosurgeon said.
Speaking three weeks ago at the Univerity of New Hampshire, Carson again alluded to his troubled life growing up in Detroit.
"You know, for me -- I couldn't wait 'til school was out. Baseball, basketball, dodge ball, any kind of ball. Throwing rocks at cars -- I really liked that," he said. "Anybody remember throwing rocks at cars when they were young?...Everybody did it because it was so much fun.
"Because you know, those old people. They would sometimes get angry and they would stop the car and they would get out and they would chase you. And we would run slowly to encourage them. Or they were nearby and we were gone like a flash.
"But you know, sometimes the police would come. Always in unmarked cars. And they would be chasing us across the field, and they would think they had trapped us. There were these tall fences; they were about ten feet tall. They had no idea how adept we were at getting over those fences.
"I mean, full speed ahead, never break stride, leap high in to the fence, allow the momentu of your feet to swing you over the top, drop down on the other side, all in one motion, and laugh at them because they couldn't do that. Now, that was back in the day before they would shoot you! I'm just kidding..."