Carson quote attributed to Joseph Stalin said to be apocryphal

Presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson cited a quote he said was from Joseph Stalin during Saturday night's GOP debate that appears to be apocryphal. 

"Joseph Stalin said, if you want to bring America down, you have to undermine three things: our spiritual life, our patriotism and our morality," Carson said in his closing remarks. 

The fact-checking site Snopes looked into the attribution of the quote to the Soviet dictator earlier this month and found it to be false. 

"Searching collections of Stalin's speeches, writings, interviews, and other statements (such as the Josef Stalin Internet Archive and the University of Pennsylvania's online library of Stalin documents) fails to turn up any reference to this quotation," according to Snopes. 

The misattribution appears to have originated from a Facebook post circulated at least as early as 2011, citing Stalin as saying: "America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within."

Carson used the quote Saturday amid an appeal for support during South Carolina's upcoming Republican primary, on Feb. 20. 

"We the people can stop that decline, starting right here in South Carolina. If all the people who say 'I love Ben Carson and his policies, but he can't win' vote for me, not only can we win, we can turn this thing around." 

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