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Benjamin Carson on 2016: If Called, He'd Run

By Lisa Barron   |   Thursday, 21 Mar 2013 10:50 AM

In one speech at the National Prayer Breakfast last month, pediatric neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson went from political unknown to conservative darling, and now he's talking about a possible presidential bid in 2016.

At least he's not ruling it out, according to an interview he gave to The New York Times.

“Certainly if a year-and-a-half went by and there was no one on the scene and people are still clamoring, I would have to take that into consideration,” the 61-year-old, world-renowned physician told the newspaper, adding: “I would never turn my back on my fellow citizens.”

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Carson’s speech at the Feb. 7 prayer breakfast, in which he denounced President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms along with moves to increase taxes on the rich, went viral on YouTube and led to TV appearances on Fox News. His instant celebrity status has helped sales of his latest book, “America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great,” to skyrocket.

Carson, director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, revealed to the Times that he has long been told he could have a career in politics based on his personal story.

He was born into poverty in Detroit and raised by a single mother, who encouraged him to excel academically. Carson went on to graduate from Yale University and the University of Michigan Medical School before finding fame through his pioneering work separating conjoined twins.

In 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, by President George W. Bush.

Report: Obamacare Pushes Premiums Up 200% Carson, a registered independent, said he became conservative through his own struggle to succeed.

“One thing I always believed strongly in was personal responsibility and hard work,” he told the Times, adding that he found the Democratic Party “leaving me behind on that particular issue.”

As for his views on the issue of healthcare, Carson told the newspaper he advocates an alternative to Obamacare that would eliminate Medicaid and Medicare, and provide for the poor through government contributions to health savings accounts.

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At the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, Carson drew cheers when he said he would retire this year because “there are so many more things to be done.”

He told the Times that his immediate plans include more public speaking and promoting his education foundation, the Carson Scholars Fund, which helps college students.

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In one speech at the National Prayer Breakfast last month, pediatric neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson went from political unknown to conservative darling, and now he's talking about a possible presidential bid in 2016.
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