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Unlike Trump, Carson Says He Plans To Watch His Language

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Paige Sutherland for NHPR
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Dr. Ben Carson spoke with reporters after attending Politics and Eggs in Bedford on Tuesday.

Donald Trump is providing an example for his fellow GOP presidential candidates -- an example of how not to talk on the campaign trail.

In New Hampshire Tuesday, Dr. Ben Carson said he has "made the mental adjustment to tone down rhetoric" when talking about issues like gay marriage and immigration. Carson said Trump's recent remarks on Mexican immigrants -- and the ensuing blowback -- has distracted voters from more important matters.

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  “I learned that several months ago to tone my rhetoric down, so people can actually hear what I am saying, because some people who just focus on the word, and they can’t hear a word that you are saying,” he said at a Politics and Eggs forum in Bedford. 

Carson has some experience when it comes to controversial remarks. In March, he was widely criticized for comments on homosexuality; he told CNN that being gay was "absolutely a choice" -- citing prisons as evidence. 

But on Tuesday, he told reporters he struggles with how to express his views without sounding polarizing.

"I have asked the question many times, 'What position can a person like myself take, who has absolutely nothing against gay people, nothing, but believes in traditional marriage that is acceptable to them?' They cannot answer that question," he said.

Carson, like fellow GOP candidate Donald Trump, has never held political office.  Carson said he doesn't think Trumps's comments hurt the Republican Party. 

"He is who he is. Could you imagine a Donald Trump who is, like, nice and mild mannered and who says everything in a very peaceful....It wouldn't be Donald Trump," he said, laughing. 

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