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Boston Marathon bombing part of GOP debate

Carly Fiorina during the Republican debate on Tuesday.
Carly Fiorina during the Republican debate on Tuesday.Ruth Fremson/NYT

Republican candidate Carly Fiorina suggested in Tuesday night's primary debate that if the government had better algorithms to comb through the Internet, it might have prevented the Boston Marathon bombings.

Fiorina was arguing that the government could use help from the technology sector to combat terrorism such as the April 15, 2013, bombings at the Marathon finish line that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others.

"Let's examine what happened, why did we miss the Tsarnaev brothers, why did we miss the San Bernardino couple? It wasn't because we had stopped collected metadata it was because, I think, as someone who comes from the technology world, we were using the wrong algorithms," Fiorina said, according to a transcript of the debate, which was televised on CNN.

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted for his role in the Marathon bombing and sentenced to death by a US District Court jury in Boston. His brother, Tamerlan, died during a confrontation with police in Watertown several days after the attack.

Fiorina is the former chief executive of computer maker Hewlett-Packard.

"This is a place where the private sector could be helpful because the government is woefully behind the technology curve," she continued. "They need to be asked to bring the best and brightest, the most recent technology to the table. I was asked as a CEO. I complied happily. And they will as well.''

Another candidate, US Senator Ted Cruz, also mentioned the Marathon bombing during the debate.

Noting that Fiorina had criticized the Obama administration as incompetent, Cruz said the administration was too politically correct -- to the point it had missed warning signs of the Marathon bombing and other attacks.

"The Tsarnaev brothers, the elder brother made a public call to jihad and the Obama administration didn't target it," the senator from Texas said.

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"It's not a lack of competence that is preventing the Obama administration from stopping these attacks. It is political correctness," he said, also citing the San Bernardino attacks and the Fort Hood shooting.

The candidates, gathering for the first time since a spate of foreign and domestic terror attacks, dueled Tuesday night over who could best safeguard the homeland and project the most muscular American stance abroad, the Globe reported Wednesday morning.