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Ben Carson Gets Into Back-and-Forth Exchange With Reporter Over ‘Context’ of His Muslim Comments

Ben Carson, Republican 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, speaks during The Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, July 18, 2015. The sponsor, The FAMiLY LEADER, is a 'pro-family, pro-marriage, pro-life organization which champions the principle that God is the ultimate leader of the family.' (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Tuesday that critics are missing the "context" of his remarks about not supporting a Muslim for president.

“If they had asked about a Christian and they said 'Would you support a Christian who believes in establishing a theocracy?' I would have said no. And then some people would have said he’s against Christians. No,” Carson said in response to a question from CNN's Joe Johns. “You have to be able to look at the context of what I was saying.”

Johns pressed, "But what is the context?"

"The context is, as I said before that question was asked, anybody of any religious faith whatsoever, if they embrace American values and they place our Constitution at the top level, above their religious beliefs, I have no problem with them," Carson said. "I said that. That's on the record. On NBC. On 'Meet the Press.' Did anybody pick up on that? Of course not. Because that wasn't a juicy story, but that's exactly what I said, that's exactly what I meant."

Carson spoke to reporters the morning after he published a Facebook post emphasizing that he was referring to the parts of Shariah law that are "not compatible" with the U.S. Constitution.

"I meant exactly what I said. I could never support a candidate for President of the United States that was Muslim and had not renounced the central tenant of Islam: Sharia Law," Carson wrote on Facebook.

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