Ben Carson calls President Obama 'naive' on ISIS

Story highlights

  • Ben Carson called President Barack Obama "naive" for downplaying the threat that ISIS poses
  • The Republican presidential candidate said Obama misunderstands the threat.

Washington (CNN)Ben Carson called President Barack Obama "naive" for downplaying the threat that ISIS poses, in the president's year-end interview with NPR.

Carson, a Republican presidential contender, said in an interview Monday with CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead" that Obama misunderstands the threat.
"We're not in the era now where you send, you know, big armies to fight or, you know, air forces. We're in a place where you use a jet plane as a missile to knock down buildings; where dirty bombs can be used to extinguish large numbers of people," Carson said.
    "There are lots of different techniques that you use -- cyber-attacks, attacking our electrical grid," he said. "You know, these are things that are all well within their capabilities, and particularly when they use them in tandem."
    Carson's critique of Obama comes as the retired neurosurgeon works to bone up on foreign policy. He recently traveled to Jordan to meet with refugees fleeing ISIS and the Syrian civil war, but he canceled a planned trip to Israel, citing security concerns.
    "There's a lot of things that can happen in this country, and we need to be planning for those things," Carson said Monday on CNN. "We cannot take a wait and see and react type of attitude. We've got to be forward-thinking very quickly to protect the American people."
    In the interview, Carson also dismissed the flap over whether Hillary Clinton lied in saying that Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from the United States is being used as a recruiting tool by ISIS.
    "There's no question that they use anything that they can against us," Carson said. "They use anything that they can possibly get their hands on to try to make their case and particularly to go after the disaffected people of the world, and what we need to be thinking about is how do we give them a different message -- disaffected ones -- so that they won't be so attracted to those kinds of messages?"
    He also laughed off a "Saturday Night Live" portrayal of his sleepy style on the presidential debate stage, saying candidates should be able to laugh at themselves.
    "I have no problem with that at all," a chuckling Carson said.