ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ben Carson did not appear to be a man who set out to criticize Donald Trump Wednesday. He arrived at Anaheim's convention center for a rally, to which 8,000 people had RSVP'd, on the second day of a low-profile California swing. In a press conference before his speech, Carson talked about the faith of America's founders, the ease with which the Affordable Care Act could be dismantled, the Iran nuclear deal, and the difficulty of a Trump-style, deportation-first immigration reform.
It was only when he was asked to name a difference between himself and Trump that Carson seemed to lean in.
"The biggest thing is that I realize where my success has come from, and I don't any way deny my faith in God," said Carson. "And I think that probably is a big difference between us."
That was his entire answer. A reporter asked Carson to expand on that response, and on whether he didn't believe Trump's expressions of faith have been sincere.
"I haven’t heard it, I haven’t seen it," said Carson. "You know, one of my favorite, Proverbs 22:4, it says: 'By humility and the fear of the Lord, are riches and honor and life.' And that's a very big part of who I am. Humility, and fear of the Lord. I don’t get that impression with him. Maybe I'm wrong."
Trump, infamously, was recently asked by Bloomberg Politics hosts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann if he could name a favorite Bible verse. It was a pop quiz, based on Trump's popular stump speech riff about how his bestseller, The Art of the Deal, is his second favorite book, topped only by the word of God.
Trump declared the question overly "personal," and declined to answer. Tuesday night, asked the same question by Fox News host Megyn Kelly, Carson quoted Proverbs 22:4 as one of "several favorite verses." That response may or may not be enough to satisfy Iowa voters. Polling hasn't found any mass dissatisfaction yet. It doesn't seem to have satisfied Carson.