Presidential races

Carson stumbles as he reads speech on Israel

Greg Nash

Ben Carson read a lengthy speech on the Middle East Thursday intended to prove to a prominent Jewish Republican group that he can be trusted on national security and foreign policy issues.

Yet Carson stumbled, mispronouncing Hamas, the name of a Palestinian group that has long been accused of promoting violence against Israelis, sounding at times like he was saying “hummus.”

The speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition served as a sharp contrast from Donald Trump’s free-wheeling address just moments before the former neurosurgeon took the stage. Carson opened his remarks by telling the crowd he wanted to read from a written speech instead of talking off the cuff, as he normally does, to be sure he didn’t “miss any of the points that I really wanted to make.”

{mosads}His careful speech comes as Carson faces a slide at the polls that many have attributed to his missteps surrounding foreign policy. A November New York Times story quoted a Carson foreign policy adviser lamenting, “Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East.” 
That, along with the increased emphasis on foreign policy in the wake of last month’s terror attacks in Paris, prompted Carson to take a trip last weekend to a refugee camp in Jordan in the hopes of aiding his image on the issue. 

In his speech, he aggregated statistics of where the Israeli-Palestinian conflict falls in total deaths since 1950 and discussed early America’s biblical roots.

“The Middle East is certainly one of the most complicated regions in the world, I mean, really complicated,” Carson said. 
“It is clear to me that the Obama administration has zero understanding of this region, and due to the policies of our president and his State Department, the situation in the region really has gone from bad to worse.”
He went on to chide the Obama administration for its reaction to the Arab Spring, calling the decision to stop backing then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak “misguided” for creating a vacuum that the Muslim Brotherhood filled. 
The criticisms of the Obama administration earned him cheers, but the audience remained mostly quiet, save for some additional applause. 
Carson walked off stage without taking questions from the audience, as every other candidate before him had, after filling his time slot entirely with his remarks.
Tags Ben Carson Donald Trump

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