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Ben Carson Slammed by 'Gotcha' Media

Ben Carson Slammed by 'Gotcha' Media

By Sunday, 27 September 2015 10:46 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Ben Carson needs to learn the first rule of national campaigning and he needs to learn it fast: The news media is not your friend. The second rule is don’t answer hypothetical questions that are designed to trip Republican candidates on hot button issues.

Before answering any question it’s always good to quickly ask yourself: Will my answer be the centerpiece of a Democratic attack ad? Carson didn’t, and he’s now in the center of an Islamic sand storm.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating the use of namby–pamby consultant–speak that Donald Trump single–handedly proved voters hate. On certain bedrock issues a candidate must state his case forthrightly and in making his case try to appeal by logic to uncommitted voters.

Carson’s violation of rule 1 and rule 2 occurred last Sunday on "Meet the Press" hosted by Chuck Todd, the TV personality that mistakenly thought he was the star of the second GOP debate. Todd asked Carson: “Should a president’s faith matter?” Followed by “Do you believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution?”

Carson is new at being a presidential candidate and he still suffers from a common misconception among inexperienced campaigners who often think you should answer the question that was asked.

Instead of wandering off down a question path never asked of Democrats, Carson should have said: “I think the faith that matters in a president is faith in the United States. We see today in the Oval Office what happens when an administration is led by someone who is not particularly proud of America and doesn’t think it holds a special place in the world.”

The second question is the hypothetical that’s most dangerous. Carson could have dismissed this by asking Todd: “Are you saying we currently have a high elected official who is a Muslim?”

It would have been interesting to watch Todd’s look of shock and dismay as he covered his tracks. Once he recovered Carson could simply say that as far as he knows none of the current candidates in either party is a Muslim, although he has it on good authority that one is a socialist.”

That way Carson avoids answering a trick question, but does so with grace and humor that should appeal to the electorate.

Even more important those answers would have avoided days of hyperventilating and cynically misleading news coverage about what Islamophobes the Republican Party is protecting.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

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Ben Carson needs to learn the first rule of national campaigning and he needs to learn it fast: The news media is not your friend.
carson, 2016, president
Sunday, 27 September 2015 10:46 AM
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