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Paris attacks: What would ‘President’ Ben Carson do?

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Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson told reporters if he had been president during the Paris terror attacks he’d offer support and seek a coalition to counter the Islamic State.

He spoke after an appearance at the Sunshine Summit in Orlando Friday.

But he said currently there’s no leadership in America to give our allies confidence we’d follow through toward a military response – suggesting Democratic President Barack Obama isn’t up to the task.

Dozens were killed late Friday and early Saturday in shootings and explosions around Paris, and in a siege of a theater where Islamist terrorists may have slaughtered over 100 more, according to preliminary reports.

“You can’t really call for something like that and just think it’s going to magically form,” he said of a coalition. “It has to form behind a leader. Once we demonstrate our resolve to defeat not only (Islamic State) but the entire global jihadist movement, I think we will find there will be adequate people who will join.

“But bear in mind,” he added, “they don’t want to get involved in something if we’re going to turn tail and run.”

Carson was immediately challenged that some Americans are concerned he’s “too soft.”

“Strength is not determined by the amount of decibels in your voice,” he said, a reference to his soft-spokenness.

He also was asked about allowing in Syrian and other refugees that could include terrorists hidden among them. Carson said Congress needed to be encouraged to be “a stronger voice … and not just be a peanut gallery” on the issue.

“What we really should be doing in using our expertise and resources to get people settled in that area,” he said. Hopefully, they need to be repatriated to Syria and their home countries, Carson added.

Further, Carson was asked about fellow candidate Donald Trump this week comparing him to a “child molester.”

Trump had referred to Carson’s autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” in which the doctor relays his anger as a youth growing up in Detroit.

“It’s in the book that he’s got a pathological temper,” Trump told CNN. “That’s a big problem because you don’t cure that … as an example: Child molesting. … You don’t cure a child molester. There’s no cure for it.”

Carson responded: “When I was a youngster, I used to get irritated by that kind of thing,” he said, smiling. “You know, ‘he said this about you; he said this about your mama.’ I’ve moved so far beyond that.”

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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