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Dr. Ben Carson 2016: What 5 Leading Pundits Say About GOP Presidential Hopeful

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By    |   Monday, 05 Jan 2015 07:33 PM

Rush Limbaugh says Dr. Ben Carson's history as a renowned surgeon makes it hard to demonize the potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate and rising GOP star. Still, leading pundits — while acknowledging the Detroit native’s history of medical accomplishments — question whether he belongs in the Oval Office.

Carson, 63, grew up in poverty but embarked on a medical career that would position him to become the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins joined at the head in 1987, according to The Atlantic. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2008.

The Atlantic indicated Carson, who has never held elected office, quickly rose to popularity as a conservative political figure after he confronted President Barack Obama while serving as keynote speaker at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast.

Urgent: Do You Support Ben Carson for the GOP Nomination? Vote Here Now

Carson is also a syndicated columnist and best-selling author. He served on the “Medical A-Team” for Fox News before they amicably ended that relationship in November 2014 amid indications Carson would run for president, Mediaite.org reported, although Carson hasn’t announced his candidacy.

A CNN/ORC International poll conducted December 2014
showed Carson came in second behind Mitt Romney when Republicans were asked whom they’d prefer to see as their party’s 2016 presidential candidate.

1. In May 2013, three months after his appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast, TheBlaze.com quoted conservative pundit Limbaugh as saying Carson had the entire Democratic Party “scared to death.”

“He is able to articulate and explain conservatism in a way that is persuasive, without raising his voice at all. It sounds like your dad talking to you – not your dad, your best buddy talking to you.”

TheBlaze.com added that Limbaugh said that liberals would have a hard time demonizing Carson — not just because he’s an African-American but because “He saves children with his hands. He saves their little brains.”

2. But conservative pundit Ann Coulter said in May 2014 that she wouldn’t vote for Carson because his stance on the Second Amendment is “convoluted” and he wants to ban semiautomatic weapons in cities.

Coulter indicated Carson suggests gun control measures that involve “Constitutional exclusion zones” in urban areas. She asked “What kind of man is it that thinks that it is OK to tell other men how they can or cannot defend themselves or their family?”

Coulter described Carson’s Second Amendment views as “a major malfunction in understanding the foundational elements of this country,” adding “I won’t vote for someone that displays an inclination to ignore the U.S. Constitution.”

3. Liberal pundit Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" on Comedy Central,  took shots at Carson and those he worked with at the time on Fox News’ “Medical A-Team,” reported Raw Story.

Stewart described the team as seeming “less like doctors and more like the shady expert witnesses paid by the defense to say, ‘That bullet hole exit wound, I don’t know, maybe that’s a third nipple.’”

Stewart said the A-Team’s purpose was mostly to parrot the network’s talking points on medical issues. He added that Carson was hired at Fox after he made comments in a March 2013 article that appeared to loop together gays, pedophiles, and people who practice bestiality, according to Raw Story.

Vote Now: Which Potential GOP Candidate Would You Support in 2016?

4. Liberal pundit Robin Marty — former director of special projects for the Center for Independent Media, a progressive online news organization with sites across the country — in an article on Truth-out.org in December suggested five reasons Carson won’t be elected president in 2016.

Marty said those are: Carson uses outdated phrases like “women’s lib;” he only switched in 2014 to being a Republican from being an independent; he thinks having a black president has actually made racial issues worse in the United States; he’s in favor of some forms of gun control opposed by fellow conservatives; and his stance on gun control has been not consistent.

Marty wrote: “Ben Carson may be many things — pundit, doctor, new conservative star of the week — but his history and policies are such a mish-mash of conservative hot topics that even if he did manage to pull off a nomination out of it, he would subsequently be unable to translate that into a general election win.”

5. Conservative Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics wrote that while it would be easy to consider Carson an outsider and dismiss him as a candidate, he’s gained a strong following among Republicans who are not longtime participants in politics.

Conroy wrote that since Carson’s prayer breakfast speech: “A growing stream of grassroots conservatives have discovered something they love in Carson’s unique political potion, which combines three core ingredients: a compelling life story, his unimpeachable credentials as a political outsider, and a blunt approach to speechifying, all refracted through his reserved, soft-spoken personality. (There may be an unspoken fourth ingredient — that Carson is an African-American conservative.)

Conroy noted that the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee (also known as “Draft Ben Carson”) at the time had raised more than $11 million since it was founded in August 2013, more than $8 million of which had come from contributions under $200.

He added: “Nowhere has his rise been more visible than in Iowa, where a recent Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll of a hypothetical 2016 Republican field showed the political neophyte in second place behind only Mitt Romney, who has insisted repeatedly that he does not plan to run for president a third time.”

Urgent: Who Should the GOP Nominate in 2016? Vote Here Now

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Rush Limbaugh says Dr. Ben Carson's history as a renowned surgeon makes it hard to demonize the potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate and rising GOP star. Still, leading pundits — while acknowledging his history of medical accomplishments — question whether he belongs in the Oval Office.
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