Ben Carson tries to explain his campaign's decline

Ben Carson said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday that he is prepared to makes changes or tweaks to his struggling presidential campaign, including being more aggressive about responding to negative stories.

"I want to make sure that we're doing everything that we can do -- to make sure that the American people absolutely recognize the choice that they have," Carson said on "Face the Nation." "If there are some things that need to be changed or tweaked, we certainly are going to be open to doing those things.

Last week he said in an interview with the Associated Press that he plans to shake up his strategy or staff now that his poll numbers have slipped so badly.

He said there will be "some alterations," and said in particular he wanted to focus on how he responds to criticism.

"One thing I want to do is have a much more robust response to attacks, particularly when they are false," he said. "We've kind of taken a nonchalant attitude toward that. I think that's the wrong thing to do. So you'll see much more aggressiveness in that region."

He cited questions raised by the media about his violent past or whether he had received a scholarship to West Point as examples. He also took issue with what he called a "narrative" that he lacks foreign policy expertise.

"If you go back and you look at the things that I have been saying about foreign policy over the last year, you'll see that they're the very things that everybody else is talking about now. And right now, you know, I'm talking about the fact that we cannot be distracted by Iraq and Syria only," he said.

Carson also defended his soft-spoken style and said he doesn't need to be a loud talker to prove he has the chops to be president.

"I hope people will not be fooled by just loud speech and gesticulations. I hope people will actually look at what has happened in a person's life because that's a much better indicator of their strength," he said. "What have they overcome? What have they been able to accomplish? And if they will look at that in my life and they look at that in many of the other lives, I think that will make a pretty powerful argument."

"People are going to be level-headed, they're going to carefully consider their options and I do believe they're going to make the right choice," he added later. "I'm hoping and praying that that is exactly what will happen, that we will not be attracted to the shiny object in the room, but we will look at what is going to actually solve our problems because they are substantial."

Carson also weighed in on comments from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who said in another "Face the Nation" interview that Sandra Bland would not have died if she were a middle-class white woman.

"We also have a tendency to inject race into everything anytime that there are people of different races involved in a conflict," Carson said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday. Earlier this month, a grand jury decided that that no felony crime was committed by the sheriff's office or the jailers in the death of Bland, the black woman who died in a Southeast Texas county jail last summer. The grand jury has still not reached a decision on whether the trooper that arrested her should face charges.

"We need to be looking at those kinds of issues," Carson said, but it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with race.

"Are there rotten police officers? Of course there are. Just like there are rotten lawyers and rotten doctors and rotten teachers and rotten journalists. But we don't condemn the whole class for that," he said. "Having said that, there's no question that we need to be looking at some of the various things that are going on in the Justice Department to make it more sensitive to people."

For instance, he cited minor offenses like an unpaid moving violation that leads to an arrest because the person is too poor to pay the ticket up front.

"A lot of things that are class and economics are ascribed to race, no question," he said.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.