Dr. Ben Carson has never held political office. However, the famed neurosurgeon has become a respected voice for conservatives, with a massive grassroots effort aimed at getting him to run for president in 2016.
Here are eight facts about Carson’s political background as he considers a 2016 run.
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Carson rose to national prominence as a neurosurgeon nearly 30 years ago, when he performed the first successful separation of twins conjoined at the back of the head. The Baltimore resident directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for nearly four decades, performing many groundbreaking surgeries and earning hundreds of prestigious awards.
In February 2008, President George W. Bush presented Carson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom
, the highest award for civilians. In his speech, Bush praised Carson’s medical accomplishments and his philanthropy, calling him a “scholar, a healer, and a leader.”
Carson has written six books, with the two most recent texts explicitly focused on laying out his thoughts on how to improve America. The best-selling “America the Beautiful” looks back at the history of what made this country unique, while “One Vote” aims to inspire people to get involved.
During the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, Carson criticized the nation’s politically correct culture, the tax code, and health care, giving suggestions for how to fix these systems. Though some criticized Carson for using that bipartisan forum to criticize President Barack Obama to his face, conservative supporters rallied and Carson became a household name.
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In the wake of that speech, Carson was asked to become an opinion columnist for The Washington Times. Since July 2013, his weekly columns have tackled everything from abortion to race relations, revealing beliefs that are widely conservative with slightly more moderate stances on a few issues. The husband and father of three also became a regular contributor to Fox News.
Supporters formed the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, launching an online petition and fundraising efforts at RunBenRun.org. In October 2014, The Washington Times reported
the political action committee had raised $10.5 million — more than the Ready for Hillary PAC.
Carson has long said he was not a member of any political party. However, during the 2014 midterm elections, he officially became a registered Republican. Many saw it as a move that will pave the way for his 2016 GOP run.
While Carson hasn’t officially announced he’s running in 2016, The Washington Times reports that the doctor already announced
Terry Giles would serve as his campaign chairman and Mike Murray would oversee digital fundraising if he does. He also recently visited Israel
on what he told The Washington Times was a “fact-finding mission,” widely seen as an effort to boost his foreign policy credentials and make nice with the U.S. ally before a 2016 bid for presidency.
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