Carson trips over US-Cuba policies
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New GOP presidential front-runner Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonOvernight Energy: Political appointee taking over as Interior IG | Change comes amid Zinke probe | White Houses shelves coal, nuke bailout plan | Top Dem warns coal export proposal hurts military HUD political appointee to replace Interior Department inspector general Affordable housing set for spotlight of next presidential campaign MORE had trouble Wednesday answering questions about U.S.-Cuba policies, a report Wednesday says.

Carson admitted during an interview that he was in the dark on policies toward those coming to the U.S. from the island nation, according to The Miami Herald.


“You’re going to have to explain to me exactly what you mean by that,” he said when quizzed by the Herald on the so-called wet-foot, dry-foot policy.

“I have to admit I don’t know a great deal about that, and I don’t really like to comment until I’ve had a chance to study the issue from both sides,” Carson said of the rule letting Cubans who reach U.S. soil stay here.

He then stumbled over the Cuban Adjustment Act, which permits Cubans to apply for legal residency after 366 days in the U.S.

“Again, I’ve not been briefed fully on what that is,” the retired neurosurgeon said.

“It sounds perfectly reasonable,” he added upon learning the act’s details.

The Miami Herald next questioned Carson about the possibility that some Cubans obtain residency and then abuse federal government benefits by frequently returning to Cuba.

“I think the way to fix that is not so much to abolish the act, but dealing with the specific area where the abuse is,” the White House hopeful responded, noting similar problems with Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

Carson additionally described the Obama administration’s diplomatic thaw with Havana earlier this year as a missed opportunity for improving human rights.

“I would certainly like to bring Cuba along, in terms of understanding how to treat people fairly,” he said.

“I think we’ve lost our leverage in doing so, because [Cuban leader] Raúl Castro’s 83 years old,” Carson said.

Castro is 84.

“He can’t be there much longer [and] they’re going to have a change in regime,” he added. "That would be the time to normalize relations.”

Carson’s remarks follow his debut atop the RealClearPolitics polling average earlier Wednesday. He is now the leader for next year’s GOP presidential nomination, having surpassed previous front-runner Donald Trump.

Florida, particularly the Miami area, has a significant Cuban-American population given its close proximity with the communist nation.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who hails from Miami, has said he think the Cuban Adjustment Act should be reconsidered.