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Ben Carson endorsement: 'There's two different Donald Trumps'

By Amy R. Connolly and Eric DuVall   |   March 10, 2016 at 8:08 PM
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PALM BEACH, Fla., March 10 (UPI) -- Former Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson endorsed GOP front-runner Donald Trump for president Friday, saying the real estate mogul has two sides: an on-stage personality and a "very cerebral" intellect.

Carson, speaking at Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., said he and Trump have reconciled after public spats during Carson's run for the Republican nomination. Trump once likened Carson's temperament to a child molester.

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Carson said Trump will become a unifier for the Republican party and will move the country in the right direction.

"He's actually a very intelligent man who cares deeply about America," Carson said. "There's two different Donald Trumps. There's the one you see on stage and the one that's very cerebral, sits there and considers things very carefully."

In introducing Carson moments before the endorsement, Trump said, "Having his support, really, it just adds total credence to what I'm trying to do and to what we're all trying to do."

Late Thursday, The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, first reported Carson's decision to back Trump.

Earlier the same day, Carson said he was "leaning toward" endorsing Trump during an interview on Fox News radio, but also said he was considering support for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Carson exited the race after disappointing results on Super Tuesday when he failed to win a single state, a few months after he had overtaken Trump in national polls. Among stinging attacks from Trump, a string of embarrassing slip-ups on the campaign trail and reports of campaign in-fighting, Carson's time at the top of the GOP race was brief.

Since ending his campaign, Carson has signed on with the Christian group My Faith Votes to help rally support for conservatives.

Carson would become the second of Trump's vanquished rivals to officially support his campaign, after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did so two weeks ago. The only other failed candidate to make an endorsement in the Republican race so far is Carly Fiorina, who said Wednesday she is endorsing Sen. Ted Cruz.

Former candidate Jeb Bush has met with Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to discuss their efforts to unseat Trump as the front-runner, but so far has not publicly endorsed anyone.

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