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Ben Carson used an apparently fake Joseph Stalin quote — and the Internet loved it

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks at a campaign event at Fireside Pub and Steak House on January 31, 2016 in Manchester, Iowa. The Iowa caucuses kick off the presidential election process tomorrow. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

Ben Carson, toward the end of Saturday's CBS Republican presidential debate, decided for some reason to quote Joseph Stalin.

"Joseph Stalin said if you want to bring America down, you have to undermine three things: our spiritual life, our patriotism and our morality," Carson said.

Carson was making a point about the country needing someone like him to stop its decline -- we think. It was kind of a weird use of the quote, to be honest.

It was even weirder considering there is no solid proof that Stalin ever said it.


Proving a negative is often an uncertain proposition, but our reasons for believing this quotation to be of dubious origin are:

And we would note for emphasis here that Carson did not utter these comments in the midst of a lengthy policy debate in which he was speaking off the cuff. This was his closing statement -- a closing statement that is undoubtedly something planned and practiced.

The fact that Carson used a false quote is the latest piece of proof that perhaps he's out of his league on that debate stage.

Update: Naturally, some folks on social media had some fun with this:

Candidates tussle over immigration, welfare, Planned Parenthood and more during the CBS Republican presidential primary debate in Greenville, S.C. (Video: Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)