SHARONVILLE, Ohio — GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson addressed hundreds of supporters Tuesday at the Sharonville Convention Center, defending comments he made about a potential future Muslim president.
Carson, a nationally renowned physician seeking the Republican nomination to run for office in 2016, recently made comments in an interview that many interpreted to mean he believed no Muslim should ever be elected president.
He clarified his comments to the Sharonville audience during his 10:30 a.m. rally.
"I don’t care what a person’s religious beliefs are what their religious heritage is, if they embrace American culture," Carson said. "If they embrace our constitution and are willing to place that above their religious beliefs I have no problem with them."
Carson's visit to the Tri-State coincided with a CNN poll released Monday showing him falling to third in a field of 10 GOP candidates seeking the party's presidential nomination. Controversial Donald Trump and former Hewitt-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina held the top two spots in that poll, respectively.
During his speech, Carson promoted a platform of smaller government and paying down the nation's debt.
The candidate added that American needs to address its politically-correct culture.
The Sharonville rally was one of two Carson scheduled for Tuesday before speaking at this year’s “Viva La Vita” event, an annual fundraiser hosted by Dayton Right to Life.
He is scheculed to stop at Cedarville University in Green County at 2 p.m.
Carson is the second presidential hopeful to visit the region within a month, following Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton’s visit to Cincinnati on Sept. 10.
Tickets for the "Viva La Vita" fundraiser are available through Ticketmaster or the University of Dayton ticket office.
The next known GOP presidential hopeful to be in the area is former Sen. Rick Santorum who is slated to be at the Sept. 28 Hamilton County Republican Party TCV Committee Event at the Sharonville Convention Center.