December 3, 2014 – NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE
By Eliana Johnson
It was a dreary day in Washington and, in the minds of the six people gathered in the Bullfinch room in the bowels of the Grand Hyatt hotel on H Street, it has been a dreary six years for the country. This week, they are making plans to change that.
They are the friends and associates of Ben Carson, the pediatric neurosurgeon with a Horatio Alger story that has captured the hearts of conservatives, and who now says he might run for president. That announcement would come in just six months, on May 1.
As Carson travels the country delivering speeches — in Kentucky on Tuesday, in Philadelphia on Wednesday — his confidants are interviewing a bevy of people, 35 in all, who in a matter of months may be staffing his presidential campaign, in every position from chief of staff to body man. They are here at the Hyatt for three days, before a two-day stint in New York City, and they are talking with security professionals, owners of airline charters, celebrity handlers, and, of course, political strategists.
“We believe in being prepared, and that requires a sophisticated and complex infrastructure if I decide to run,” Carson says in a phone interview. “It’s like the Boy Scouts: Be Prepared.” I ask him how much of a chance there is that he’ll run, and he ducks the question. But the midterm elections “pushed me closer,” he allows.
“People are starting to wake up,” he says.
Back at the Hyatt, Carson’s longtime friend, the Houston lawyer and businessman Terry Giles, is running the show. (I sat in on one of the interviews and talked with the team assembled there but agreed not to reveal the identities of the job candidates or to quote them.)
Giles and Carson met when they were inducted into the Horatio Alger Association in 1994. Like Carson, Giles grew up poor, and, as his family moved across St. Louis, he attended 21 schools in ten years. After founding a successful criminal-defense firm (he represented the notorious Hillside Stranglers), he moved into civil litigation and worked with a wide range of clients, including comedian Richard Pryor and Enron CEO Kenneth Lay. In 2010, he was appointed to mediate a dispute between Martin Luther King’s children. Oh, and he also runs a conglomerate that owns dozens of businesses.
A mention of the rapper cum actor LL Cool J, who is rumored to be a conservative, prompts the following from Giles: “They did an interview with him in Bon Appétit, and they asked him what’s the best meal he’s ever had, and he said it was at Château Eza. That’s a hotel my wife and I own. So, I don’t know him, but I like him.”
Giles is chairman of Carson’s super PAC, USA First, and should Carson decide to run, he will become the chairman of his campaign. He and his wife, Kalli O’Malley, are already planning a move to D.C. in April. “We fully expect him to run,” Giles tells one interviewee.
In the interview sessions, Giles sits on one side of a rectangular table, in the middle, flanked by his colleagues on each side. It’s a scene reminiscent of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice. To his left are Logan Delany, who would serve as CFO for a Carson presidential campaign, and Mike Murray, who would handle digital operations. To his right are Steve Rubino, the ad guy (“We hope to reinvent political ads,” Giles says); O’Malley, Giles’s wife and law partner; and Mike Nason, an advance man and former producer of the Reverend Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power, who traveled from California to be here (he met Carson when Carson appeared as a guest on the show).
At an interview that occurred over the lunch hour on Tuesday, Giles and the interviewee did most of the talking, including about Carson’s perceived weaknesses: They agree that Carson is quiet; he is measured; he doesn’t come across as a tough guy. “Maybe it’s because of what he’s done for a living his whole life, but he’s not given to tremendous emotional ups and downs,” Giles says. “He’s very steady, he’s very thoughtful, he’s very humble, and one of the things we’ve got to try to get across to the public, is — the thing I like about Ben is, first of all, I think he’s a great candidate in the general election for the Republicans.”
Right now, Carson is polling well. The latest CNN/ORC survey of Republican and independent voters has him in second place to Mitt Romney. That, of course, owes much to his visibility on Fox News and could change a lot as the primary takes shape, but Carson is the type of candidate who could pull off an upset in early primary states like Iowa and South Carolina.
He is the un-Obama. If Obama was elected without having accomplished much of anything, Carson’s accomplishments — in 1987 he became the first physician to separate twins conjoined at the head — are undeniable. If Obama has lived a thoroughly political life, charting his path from community organizer to president in a matter of years, Carson made a name outside of politics and, until recently, inhabited a world apart from it. So thoroughly did he ignore the traditional rules of politics and decorum that he burst onto the national scene by delivering the president a verbal spanking as Obama sat just a few feet away at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013.
But, according to Giles, Carson may be the man to unite the country in 2016.
“Forget about Republicans and Democrats, we need a president of the United States who’s going to bring people together,” he says. “And the guy who’s going to do that is not going to be the fiery type, he’s not going to be the guy who [makes us] say, ‘Oh, wow, he’s full of passion up on that stage because he raises his voice or he’s angry.’ Ben is thoughtful, he’s inclusive, he’s a great listener. He has some skill sets that we as the public ought to be looking for in a president but so often don’t. So in our campaign, we’ve got to get that message across.”
Across town are the offices of Carson’s longtime business manager, the television and radio personality Armstrong Williams. He sits amid life-size cardboard cutouts of John McCain and Barack Obama. “I get to see the president every day,” he joked to me when I dropped by on Monday. Williams isn’t as excited as the rest of Carson’s associates about the prospect of a presidential bid. “I don’t think he should run for president — that’s not something that I would wish upon him or anybody else,” Williams says. “But I know that’s something that he’s contemplating.”
Williams is protective of his client and friend, whom he says he used to speak with every morning as Carson drove from his home to his office at Johns Hopkins. They have known each other for 25 years. I ask what he thinks of the criticism in conservative circles that, if Carson runs, he may be the Herman Cain of 2016, a political outsider with grassroots support who ultimately fumbles on the national stage. Williams jumps at the question.
“What’s a Herman Cain?” he asks, rhetorically. “Oh, no,” Williams says of Carson. “He’s different. He’s a surgeon.” It’s one of his favorite refrains, repeated often throughout our talk. Later, he is still miffed. Mike Nason arrives to meet him for lunch. Williams turns to him: “She asked me if he was going to be like Herman Cain. I said, ‘Herman who?’ 9-9-9? That sounds like an emergency call.”
“Now, tell her why you’re here so she knows I’m not pulling her leg,” Williams demands, referring to the interviews that are already under way at the Hyatt.
Cautious, Nason says, “I’m here to see Ben Carson,” even though he is also part of the interview process and has stepped away only momentarily.
“That’s not why you’re here,” Williams says. “You guys are interviewing!”
And so they are. At the Hyatt, Terry Giles talks about his ambition to build a campaign that is “completely out of the box.” It already is.
— Eliana Johnson is Washington editor of National Review.
Dr. Ben Carson appears on the Fox News Channel to discuss the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. He suggests a dialogue be opened about the violence in America’s largest cities.
Detroit native Dr. Ben Carson has come in second in the recent Republican straw poll for potential 2016 presidential contenders.
Carson, who was born in Detroit, graduated from Southwestern High School and earned a medial degree from the University of Michigan, came in behind
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Cruz finished in first place at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans this week at 30.3%.
Carson, a Fox News commentator and conservative activist, had 29.4%.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, was third with 10.4%.
Fox News host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Texas Gov. Rick Perry rounded out the top five, at 5.1% and 4.9%, respectively.
Neither Carson nor Paul spoke at the conference, but their support was a show of confidence by the traditionally more conservative crowd. The annual meeting of activists features a who’s who of Republican politicians. It is an important appearance for potential presidential candidates to make.
More moderate Republicans also skipped the conference, but many fared much worse in the straw poll. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came in dead last with 1.11% while Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush came in eighth and seventh at 3.32% and 4.42%, respectively.
Cruz’s address was among the most popular. He was interrupted several times by cheers and standing ovations — especially when he told the crowd he was “convinced” the Republican Party will retake control of Congress in the midterm elections this fall.
Cruz won the Values Voter summit’s presidential straw poll last fall, and came in second to Sen. Paul in this year’s straw poll at the big Conservative Political Action Conference.
The potential 2016 presidential candidate said that across the country, people tell him that they are scared — of losing their freedom, losing their constitutional rights, and bankrupting their children and grandchildren.
“There is an urgency facing this country — there is an urgency in politics unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” he said, arguing those fears were driving a new movement.
“America is waking up. We are seeing revival, we are seeing renewal, and together — mark my words — we are going to turn this nation around,” he said.
Cruz highlighted his past battles with what he regards as Washington elites, Democrat and Republican, in fights over drones, gun rights and filibusters. But he cited a “tsunami” of populist power, a wave of grassroots support as the core of those victories.
“Thank you!” he exclaimed to a shout of thanks from the audience. “Nobody cares what any politician in Washington says. Power in politics, sovereignty in America is with we the people, and that is the path to turning this country around, empowering the people.”
That wave will unseat Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, and force Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, out, he predicted to applause and cheers. A conservative Democrat, Landrieu faces a tough reelection this fall, and the crowd of Louisiana Republicans is eager to unseat her and strip the Democrats of their majority status.
Sounding like a candidate on the trail, Perry took the occasion to tout his record as Texas governor, on everything from job creation to reducing nitrous oxide emissions.
“The best ideas can be found in the states, where innovative policies get replicated all the time,” said the two-term governor. “And I have never been afraid to borrow good ideas, regardless of where they come from. No political party has a monopoly on good ideas.”
He argued the party should be the same way.
“If we are to win a majority in both houses of Congress and take back the White House, we must again be the party of big ideas,” he added later. “Americans are looking for leadership that transcends partisanship.”
Former Pennsylvania senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum also gave a passionate speech that called for a return to conservative values and slammed those who would compromise in order to win elections — a veiled swipe he has made before at moderate Republicans such as Christie.
“The problem with the Republican Party is that we have people in the party who don’t believe in the very foundational principles of our party,” said Santorum, going on to criticize the party’s “moderate” funders, an “expert political class” from “dark-blue communities” in major cities.
“We talk to job creators, not job holders – and ladies and gentlemen, there are a lot more job holders than there are job creators,” he said, with a message of economic populism that pushed the GOP to be “pro-growth and pro-worker,” not just pro-business.
Santorum finished in ninth place in the straw poll, at 2.37%.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and business magnate Donald Trump were also in attendance at the conference — although none of them were included in the straw poll.
Former presidential candidate Herman Cain also spoke, and even hinted that he may run for president again.
Calling the Obama administration “a period of scandals and a crisis of leadership,” the businessman and radio host told the crowd to “stay informed. The stupid people are outvoting us.”
At one time the leading candidate in the 2012 Republican field, Cain also pushed back against the notion that Republicans don’t reach out to minorities — citing himself as an example.
“What am I, chopped liver?” he exclaimed.
Cain also was not featured in the straw poll.
By Ben S. Carson
Published April 22, 2014 — The Washington Times
The Bundy case in Nevada provides many insights into the state of our nation with respect to the relationship between the people and the government. The Bundys appear to be honorable American citizens without adequate legal counsel to help resolve a federal land issue about which they disagree with the Bureau of Land Management. Without question, they violated some of the innumerable laws and regulations that continue to entangle every
aspect of American life.
Their violations could certainly have been handled through a multitude of less brutal means than those employed by our federal government, which through the mouthpiece of Sen. Harry Reid emphasizes how important it is for the government to enforce its laws. It is quite interesting to see, though, that the same bureaucrats refuse to enforce some of our federal border-protection laws and other domestic policies with which they disagree. Perhaps Mr. Reid’s time could be better spent explaining why it is acceptable for the federal government to pick and choose which laws it wishes to enforce.
The senator readily referred to the Bundys and their supporters as “domestic terrorists,” but the current administration is reticent about applying the same term to Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who admitted slaughtering more than a dozen people in 2009 at Fort Hood in Texas. What does this tell us about our government and its perceptions and alignments?
The massive show of federal force in the Bundy case is frightening because it gives us a brief glimpse of the totalitarian regime that awaits a sleeping populace that does not take seriously its voting responsibilities, and places in public office (and returns them to office) who do not represent traditional American values.
The fact that the ranchers were well armed and willing to literally fight for their rights probably tempered the enthusiasm of the federal forces to engage in further aggression. It was clear from the body language and some of the reported verbal responses of the government forces that they were not prepared to engage in lethal combat with fellow Americans.
Those Americans who are concerned about the possible future imposition of martial law after a financial collapse or some other event should take solace in knowing that many military and law enforcement personnel would likely refuse to obey commands inconsistent with freedom and American values. Such commands could emanate from any political party in the future, but it is likely that such a party would be one controlling an administration that selectively enforces laws and ignores or excuses corruption.
Another important lesson from this incident is the value of a well-armed citizenry. The Second Amendment was crafted by wise citizens who recognized how quickly an enemy invasion could occur or how our own government could be deceived into thinking it had the right to dominate the people. Such domination is considerably more difficult when people have arms and can put up significant resistance. This is the reason that brutal dictators like Fidel Castro, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler and Idi Amin tried to disarm the populace before imposing governmental control. Such domination could occur in America in the not-too-distant future if we are not vigilant.
We must be reasonable and willing to engage in conversation about how to limit the availability of dangerous weapons to criminals and very violent or insane people. In light of past worldwide atrocities committed by tyrants, though, to threaten the Second Amendment rights of ordinary American citizens is itself insanity. Those wishing to ban all assault weapons fail to understand the original intent of the Second Amendment.
Just as insidious as the attempt to limit weapons and ammunition to law-abiding citizens is the incessant invasion of privacy by the government. Unless there is reasonable cause for suspicion as determined by a court of law, there is no need for the government to know all the intimate details of our lives, including who we talk to, where we spend our time and money, or which weapons we own, provided we’re not purchasing tanks or fighter planes.
For our nation to once again be a thriving metropolis of freedom and innovation, the people and the government must peacefully coexist in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. This can only occur when laws are equally enforced and political favors are a thing of the past. When obvious governmental corruption is discovered, it must be swiftly and openly dealt with, and the perpetrators must face easily verifiable punishment.
This is just the opening salvo of what a trustworthy and honorable government should strive for. If we had such a government, border enforcement would be a given, the rights of the people would be respected, and events like the incident between the Bundys and the Bureau of Land Management would not occur.
We the people of the United States are the only ones capable of preventing uncontrolled government expansion and abuse. Like the ranchers in Nevada, Americans must find the courage and determination to maintain a free and vibrant nation. Government should be our friend and ally. When it is, we should support it wholeheartedly.
Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University and author of the forthcoming “One Nation” (Sentinel, May 20).
Published April 15, 2014 – FoxNews.com
Conservative sage Dr. Ben Carson is claiming the White House was offended by his now-famous keynote address at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast and asked at the time for an apology call to President Obama — which he didn’t make.
The anecdote is found in Carson’s upcoming book “One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future.”
Carson, who became a conservative sensation after the address, was highly critical of the direction of the country though he never blamed the president, who was sitting just a few feet away.
“He did not appear to be hostile or angry,” Carson wrote in the book.
“But within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him. I said that I did not think that he was offended and that I didn’t think that such a call was warranted.”
The passage was verified Tuesday by publisher Sentinel, a division of Penguin Group (USA).
Carson, a former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, also suggests in the book he has no plans to run for president in 2016 unless called by God. However, he has placed third in two recent straw polls and is being courted by the well-funded National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee.
By Joh Feldman – Mediaite
Dr. Ben Carson gave a fiery speech at CPAC Saturday, rousing the crowd by railing against political correctness and attacks he’s endured from the liberal media, saying that the people with common sense in this country have been “beaten into submission,” encouraging people to “stop being intimidated” and proudly telling the crowd, “Don’t let the left shut you up!”
Carson cried, “I will continue to defy the PC police who have tried, in many cases, to shut me up! I actually find them pretty amusing.” He went down a list of all the comments he’s made that he accused the media of distorting and taking out of context, saying they “repeat these lies over and over again because they cannot argue the actual facts.” Carson talked about helping the “decent, hard-working Americans” in that infamous 47 percent who are looking for help.
However, Carson also emphasized it’s important for the conservative moment to unite, so he advised that if the person you back doesn’t win a primary, call them a “RINO” or “teabagger” if you must, but at the end of the day, “vote for him” because a united front is how conservatives win at the end of the day.
Watch the video below, via C-SPAN:
WASHINGTON, DC, January 09, 2014 — In an interview today with Newsmax reporter, Bill Hoffmann, Dr. Ben Carson re-affirmed his position on running for President. This is what he said…
“If the circumstances presented themselves in such a way that there were a lot of people clamoring for me to do that and there was no other candidate that was really receiving a lot of traction, I would certainly have to give it consideration.”
Shortly after that, Dr. Carson responded to the same question asked by FOX News’ Greta Van Susteren, saying of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee that he won’t “interfere one way or another” with the petition to draft him, and “I believe God will make it clear to me if that’s something I’m supposed to do.”
Like virtually every eventual candidate for President before him, Dr. Carson is waiting for a groundswell of support for his incipient candidacy. His hero of the American Revolution, Dr. Benjamin Rush said of running for office…
“He must love private life, but he must decline no station …when called to it by the suffrages [votes] of his fellow citizens.
Clearly, Dr. Carson is following the advice of Dr. Benjamin Rush. He does not see public office as something to be grasped, but rather a high duty to which he must be called by his fellow citizens.
John Philip Sousa IV, Chairman of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee said, “With this re-affirmation by Dr. Carson that he will run only if the American people are clamoring for him to do so, I am determined to re-double our efforts to draft this humble, dedicated American as the Republican nominee for President in 2016.”
The great-grandson of the famous march king, John Philip Sousa, IV, author and financial investment professional, and Vernon Robinson, a former City Council member of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, graduate of the Air Force Academy, and the son of a Tuskegee Airman, created the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee in August of this year to draft Dr. Benjamin Carson to run for the republican nomination for President in 2016.