Ben Carson

Ben Carson

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Added Nov 08, 2015 at 08:01PM EST by Ari Spool.

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Ben Carson is a retired American neurosurgeon who ran as a Republican primary candidate for the nomination in the upcoming 2016 United States presidential election. Since entering the Republican presidential primaries in May 2015, Carson has received significant media exposure for his politically conservative beliefs, religious faith in Seventh-Day Adventism and a number of other controversial remarks. In March 2016, after the disappointing turnout at the Super Tuesday primaries, Carson announced the suspension of his presidential campaign.


Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1951, Carson studied at Yale and the University of Michigan Medical School. He became the head of Pediatric Neurosurgery at John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, where he became well-known for performing difficult surgeries including the separation of conjoined twins and hemispherectomies.[1] In 1992, he published an autobiography, Gifted Hands, which went into further detail about his childhood and his religious thought; the book became a made-for-TV movie of the same title which aired in 2008 and starred Cuba Gooding Jr.[2] Carson has published five more books, mostly about applying religious philosophy to modern day life. He is a devout Seventh-Day Adventist. [3]

In 2013, Carson became a columnist for the Washington Times[4] and a commentator on Fox News. In addition, he has worked widely as a motivational speaker, including with a supplement company called Mannatech, which is known for its "multi-level marketing strategies."[5]

2016 Presidential Campaign

On May 3rd, 2015, Carson confirmed he will run for the Presidential nomination of the Republican Party via a radio station in Detroit, and the next day he officially announced it at a rally in that city.[6] Since he has never served in office, Carson is considered by most to be an outsider candidate, like Donald Trump, or Carly Fiorina. His campaign proved to be popular, if plagued by controversy. As of October 28th, 2015, a CNN poll indicated that Carson was leading in the race.[7]

New Hampshire GOP Debate Entrance

On February 6th, 2016, the ABC hosted the last pre-primary debate of the Republican race for the Presidential nomination at St. Anselm's College in New Hampshire. During the initial roll call for the debate, when the candidates were supposed to file out onto the stage and take their place on the podium, Ben Carson missed his initial cue. After being shuffled out of the backstage by a stagehand, Carson then proceeded to pause in the curtained wings for an extended period of time, where he was joined by Donald Trump, and bypassed by Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. He continued to stand awkwardly, even after the stagehand again motioned him to his podium. After the extended pause, Trump walked to his podium, followed by Carson. In the melée, the moderators, David Muir and Martha Radditz, forgot to call the name of candidate John Kasich until Chris Christie mentioned that he was missing.[19]

Carson later said to Politico, a political publication, that he was unable to hear his name backstage, causing the mistake.[20] According to Google trends, Carson experienced a dramatic increase in search volume after the debate (see "Search Interest" section below). The flub was covered in many major news outlets, including Inside Edition, NBC Nightly News, and the Guardian, who ran an editorial by a doctor that wondered if perhaps Carson was on sedatives.[22] The evening of the flub, Saturday Night Live mocked it in its weekly "Weekend Update" news segment[21] (below left), while several users combined clips of Carson's entrance with Confused Travolta (below right). A post on the subreddit /r/politics about the entrance fail received 5,632 points (94% upvoted).[23]

On March 4th, 2016, Carson announced the suspension of his campaign during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Online Presence

Carson has presences on all social networks, including Twitter, where he has over 886,000 followers as of November 7, 2015.[13] On Facebook, his official profile is liked by over 4.6 million users,[14] and the /r/bencarson subreddit, founded in 2013, has 198 readers.[15] His official YouTube channel has over 15,000 subscribers and the most viewed video has over 520,000 views.[16]


Factual Inaccuracies

Some aspects of Carson's background, as depicted in his autobiography, have come into dispute. For instance, an account for the book in which Ben Carson attempts to stab a childhood friend, but instead only stabs the friend's belt buckle has been contested; it is unclear if it was a friend or a relative, and if the incident ever actually happened at all.[8] In addition, on November 6th, Carson's assertion that he had been "offered a full scholarship" to the American military academy West Point was contested by a variety of political reporters, who claimed that not only did Carson never apply to West Point, but that West Point is free for all attendees and therefore a scholarship is impossible.[9]

Controversial Statements

In addition to controversy surrounding his background, Carson has made many controversial statements in his speeches and writings. On September 4th, 2015, while appearing on Meet the Press, Carson declared that he did not believe that Muslims could not legally be president, saying, "I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that." He also declared that he believed the Muslim religion to be unconstitutional.[10]

On November 4th, 2015, Buzzfeed[11] found footage from a 1998 commencement speech made by Carson at Andrews University indicating that Carson believed that the Egyptian Pyramids were not, as archaeologists say, used as burial tombs by the Egyptians, but rather built by Joseph to store grain during his enslavement by the Pharaoh, as depicted in the Old Testament. When questioned that day on the topic by CBS News, Carson said, "Yes, this is still my belief."[12]

On Twitter, the video clip of Carson discussing his theory about the Egyptian pyramids quickly spawned a series of satirical jokes under the hashtag #BenCarsonWikipedia, while various U.S. news media outlets, including The Christian Post[17] and the Mail Online,[18] wrote articles regarding Carson's outspoken creationist beliefs, in particular a 2011 speech in which he claimed that evolution was "encouraged" by "Satan."

Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – Ben Carson

[2] Wikipedia – Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

[3] Zondervan – Authors: Ben Carson

[4] Washington Times – Ben S. Carson

[5] National Review – Ben Carson’s Troubling Connection

[6] Washington Post – Ben Carson announces presidential campaign

[7] CNN – Donald Trump on poll slump: 'I don't get it'

[8] New York Magazine – Ben Carson Defends Himself Against Allegations That He Never Attempted to Murder a Child

[9] Politico – Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point 'scholarship' but never applied

[10] Politico – Ben Carson: America's president can't be Muslim

[11] Buzzfeed – Ben Carson: Egyptian Pyramids Built For Grain Storage, Not By Aliens Or As Tombs

[12] CBS – Ben Carson's unusual theory about pyramids

[13] Twitter – RealBenCarson

[14] Facebook – Real Ben Carson

[15] /r/bencarson

[16] YouTube – RealBenCarson

[17] Christian Post – Ben Carson Criticizes Young Earth Creationism, Says Earth Could Be Billions of Years Old

[18] Mail Online – Ben Carson told Christian conference he believes God created the world in six days

[19] Miami Sun Times – Awkward intro: 'Ben Carson, please come out on the stage'

[20] Politico – Ben Carson explains the botched debate intro

[21] Oregon Live – 'SNL' 'Weekend Update' mocks Ben Carson, Donald Trump GOP debate entrance fail

[22] The Guardian – Ben Carson's strange debate entrance – stage fright or sedation?

[23] /r/politics – Ben Carson Hilariously Blows GOP Debate Entrance

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Top Comments


His statements regarding a Muslim president have been rather cherry picked.

"Now, if someone has a Muslim background, and they’re willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have, and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion, then of course they will be considered infidels and heretics, but at least I would then be quite willing to support them."

It's not that he doesn't think Muslims are capable. It's because Sharia law is incompatible.


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