Carson stumbles on hummus vs. Hamas

December 3, 2015

Republican Ben Carson has been under pressure to show voters he has enough foreign policy expertise to be president. His speech Thursday before a group of prominent Jewish Republicans might not have helped his case.

Carson told the Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Washington he was going to use a “script” to make sure he got all his points in.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson arrives at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Presidential Forum in Washington December 3, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

“It might be the first time anybody has ever seen me doing that, but I don’t want to miss any of the points that I really wanted to make,” Carson said early in his comments.

But the strategy led Carson, who said he usually speaks spontaneously, to look at his notes frequently and not his audience. Snarky viewers joked on Twitter that his speech, which was partly a history of U.S. ties to Israel, made him seem like a student reading a book report to a class.

Carson also took heat for his pronunciation of Hamas, the extremist group. He said the word more like “hummus,” the spread made from chickpeas.

“Poor Ben Carson. Someone should have told him how to pronounce Hamas,” Ari Fleischer, a White House press secretary under former President George W. Bush, said on Twitter. Fleischer is also on the board of the Jewish group. “He sounds like he’s not familiar with the group.”

Carson, who did not take questions, did deliver several applause lines, including by criticizing President Barack Obama.

“It is clear to me that the Obama administration has zero understanding of this region, and hence due to the policies of our president and his State Department, the situation in the region has really gone from bad to worse,” Carson said.

A parade of Republican White House hopefuls appeared before the Republican Jewish Coalition, which includes some major Republican donors. Most focused on tough talk that appealed to their audience, vowing to support Israel, renegotiate a controversial nuclear deal with Iran and stand tough against terrorism at home.

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Thanks for perpetuating the stereotype that all Carson has to add to the Republican presidential candidate race frenzy is comic relief. You have reduced him to the dunce in the corner who can only mispronounce words and make silly homespun comments. Apparently there was no substance, maybe some applause? And this is news reporting?

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