— -- Republican presidential contender Ben Carson is firing back at Donald Trump this morning, responding to Trump's attacks on Carson's "pathological stories" by saying the New York real estate mogul needs to learn the definition of pathological.
“It’s not the kind of dialogue that I would ever engage in,” Carson said in a news conference in Greenville, South Carolina, today. “I'm hopeful maybe his [Trump's] advisers will help him to understand the word pathological and recognize that that does not denote incurable.
“It's not the same. It simply is an adjective that describes something that is highly abnormal. And something that, fortunately, I have been able to be delivered from for half a century,” he said of his escaping a violent past.
Still, Carson took a much more subdued approach than Trump, insisting that he would not engage in personal attacks and does not "have to get into it."
"The wonderful thing is, it's not really up to me. It's up to the people," Carson, 64, said. "They will listen and they will be able to make a decision about whether they want to listen to the usual politics of personal destruction or whether they want to deal with something better."
The battle between the two candidates, who are leading the race for the GOP nomination, intensified after Trump compared Carson to a “child molester” and asked Thursday night "how stupid are the people of Iowa to believe this crap?"
Lashing out at the retired neurosurgeon, Trump, 69, mocked a story in question about Carson’s attempting to stab a friend or relative and the knife blade breaking.
"It hit the belt. And the knife broke. Give me a break," Trump said at an Iowa rally Thursday night.
He added: "He hit the belt buckle? Anybody with a knife want to try it on me? Believe me it ain't gonna work.”
Carson said he hopes the dialogue can be civil. “I'm hopeful we reach a level of maturity that we can actually deal with the issues facing us right now," he added. "And stop getting into the mud and doing things that really don't matter."
Also, in an interview with Yahoo's Global Affairs Anchor Katie Couric this morning, Carson said he would reveal the identity of the friend or relative he attempted to stab "if media will be honest and fair."
On global affairs, Carson told Couric that if he were in a meeting with Russian Vladimir Putin, he would tell him that "we are a peaceful nation, but we are not a marshmallow."
And when asked about the Confederate flag, he said that some "find it to be something they are proud of," adding that it "doesn’t bother me."