Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a campaign rally at the Anaheim Convention Center Sept. 9, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif.  
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson absolutely “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” he said in an interview with NBC News that aired Sunday morning.

“I absolutely would not agree with that,” the lone black Republican presidential candidate told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd during a discussion about controversy over Grand Old Party front-runner Donald Trump’s failure to correct an audience member who called President Barack Obama a Muslim last week at a New Hampshire campaign rally.

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“We have a problem in this country," the man told Trump. “It’s called Muslims.” The audience member then went on to accuse the president of lying about his Christian faith, saying that he does not believe Obama was born in the United States. Trump, who was part of the Birther movement, later told reporters that it’s not his responsibility to defend the president.

For his part, Carson told NBC that he believes the president is a Christian: “I believe that he is. I have no reason to doubt what he says.”

Carson, who slipped a bit in national and early-voting-state polls after last week’s CNN debate, is likely looking to regain a toehold with the religious right with the anti-Muslim comment. He entered the debate in second place after Trump, but the soft-spoken retired neurosurgeon slid into third place behind ex-CEO Carly Fiorina after appearing out of place amid the heated rhetoric.

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