UNION LEADER: GOP’s Ben Carson speaks at Politics & Eggs event in Bedford
As originally appearing in The Union Leader

By CASSIDY SWANSON

 

BEDFORD — Dr. Ben Carson might not have the political experience that his fellow presidential candidates have, but that doesn’t make him less qualified for the job as President, the pediatric neurosurgeon told the crowd at a Politics & Eggs luncheon at the Bedford Village Inn on Tuesday.

“If you have a brain, and you have the ability to talk to people, and you have the ability to listen, and you have the ability to read, you can learn stuff, believe me,” said Carson, a Republican. “…There are lots of people in our country, quite frankly, who I have met, in all kinds of fields, who I would feel much more comfortable making decisions for me.”

Carson, former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, said he’s often asked why he wants to run for the presidency after a successful career in medicine.

“My answer is, ‘I don’t want to get into politics, but I do want to do something to heal this country,’” said, Carson, who was accompanied by his wife Candy.

Carson said he’s operated on more than 15,000 people in his medical career, including a man Carson operated on as a baby. He had half of his brain removed and went on to graduate at the top of his college class.

“I want to set up an institute in Washington and do hemispherectomies,” Carson joked. “Maybe we can make (politicians) a little smarter.”

Carson also touted his reliance on data in the medical field as evidence he would make fact-based choices as president.

“Unfortunately, that doesn’t work in politics — people don’t really care what the data shows,” he said, using the example of the “war on poverty” started under President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s.

“We spent $19 trillion in the effort, and what did we get for it?” he asked. “Everything that was supposed to get better is not only worse, it’s much worse.”

Carson also called himself “a vociferous opponent of political correctness,” and touched on the recent controversy surrounding fellow GOP candidate Donald Trump, who lost several business relationships and has attracted widespread criticism after suggesting undocumented immigrants from Mexico are drug dealers and rapists.

“Do we have an illegal immigration problem? Absolutely,” he said. “What we really should be talking about is how we solve the illegal immigration problem, not, you know, the words that Donald Trump used, which were, perhaps, a little inflammatory.”

Following the event, Carson told reporters he did not believe Trump’s comments hurt the Republican Party, and that Trump “appears to be serious” about his candidacy.

“He is who he is,” he said. “Could you imagine a Donald Trump who’s, like, nice and mild-mannered and says everything in a very PC (way)? It wouldn’t be Donald Trump … I don’t see any reason why anybody else should be held to explain what he has to say.”

Carson also spoke about the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 ruling legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states, saying he is not opposed to same-sex relationships, including legal unions, but does not support changing the legal definition of marriage.

“I’m for everybody; I’m not for extra rights for everybody,” he said. “I don’t want any group to have the ability to change definitions for everybody else, because where does that end?”

Carson said he believes he will be on the debate stage next month.

“I would love to win New Hampshire,” he said. “But have people become President without winning New Hampshire in the past? Of course they have.”

cswanson@newstote.com – See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150708/NEWS0605/150709370#sthash.7J7ZZhVX.dpuf

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