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Ben Carson on Melania Trump's words: 'I don't think that they were plagiarized'

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@PatriciaMazzei

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Former Donald Trump presidential rival Ben Carson didn't only stand behind Melania Trump's speechwriters Tuesday -- he said the potential first lady's words should be "celebrated," even if they closely mirrored a 2008 address by Michelle Obama.

"I don't think that they were plagiarized," Carson told reporters after speaking at the Florida delegation's breakfast. "I think they were general principles that were very valuable to Americans."

Carson himself apologized during the Republican primary after BuzzFeed reported plagiarism in his 2012 book "America the Beautiful." Yet Carson, a Palm Beach County resident who's now backing Trump, wouldn't call on Melania Trump or the campaign to apologize.

"If we share values, we ought to celebrate that, not turn it into a controversy," he said. "That should make us all very happy, whether it's Democrats or Republicans, we all share the same values."

The other top guest at the breakfast, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton -- who didn't utter the words "Donald Trump" in his speech -- called Melania Trump a "private citizen" and said he's more concerned with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton "plagiarizing" former rival Bernie Sanders' speeches and President Barack Obama's policies.

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