— -- Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson further defended his foreign policy credentials today, refuting claims that his lack of experience makes him unqualified to be commander in chief.
“I hope everyone is on a learning curve,” the retired neurosurgeon said on ABC's “This Week.” “In medicine, we have something that is called CME -- continuing medical education. It recognizes the fact that things are always in the process of changing, and if you stay stagnant, and you say, 'Well, I’m up on it and I’ll go relax,' you’re not going to be very competent.”
Noting the world changes at a rapid pace, Carson emphasized that foreign policy experience comes down to practical experience -- not political experience.
“Yes, we should have in place protocols to deal with that 2 a.m. call in the morning, but we also need to have the ability to think quickly and to be flexible,” Carson said, noting that he likely has more early morning calls than anyone else running for president, and greater experience making life or death decisions. “I don’t know that it necessarily comes down to politics. It comes down to practical experience, solving difficult problems, doing things quickly and efficiently, and using the resources available to you to get that done."
His comments came as he faced a number of foreign policy mistakes last week in the wake of the Paris terror attacks -- with his own advisers even saying he still has a lot to learn.
"He is not perfect,” Carson adviser Armstrong Williams told Bloomberg News last week. “We’ll never be perfect. But he continues to surround himself with people and engage people that can enhance his foreign policy.
In The New York Times, Duane R. Clarridge, who has advised Carson, also offered a candid critique.
“Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East,” Clarridge told the Times, adding that Carson needs weekly conference calls on foreign policy so “we can make him smart.”
But Williams insisted that Carson is learning, telling ABC News “he is learning, gaining confidence and making tremendous progress.”