Ben Carson CPAC Speech Leaves Door Open To Presidential Run

03/16/2013 12:36 pm ET | Updated Mar 18, 2013
  • Elise Foley Immigration And Politics Reporter, Huffington Post

Upcoming conservative star Ben Carson didn't rule out the possibility on Saturday that he could run for president after he retires from his work as a pediatric surgeon, and strongly rebuked the man currently in the White House.

Carson, who works at Johns Hopkins Medicine, boosted his profile during the National Prayer Breakfast last month when he criticized Obamacare and taxes with President Barack Obama sitting only a few feet away.

He ramped up that criticism at CPAC to a very receptive crowd.

"Let's say somebody were [in the White House] and they wanted to destroy this nation," Carson said. “I would create division among the people, encourage a culture of ridicule for basic morality and the principles that made and sustained the country, undermine the financial stability of the nation, and weaken and destroy the military. It appears coincidentally that those are the very things that are happening right now."

He said the Affordable Care Act should either be defunded or drastically changed. He also challenged the philosophy of social welfare in government, saying the rich have always been philanthropic and that people are not going hungry on the streets -- they're always taken care of, he said.

Carson, who is black, mocked those who criticized him after the National Prayer Breakfast remarks for attacking the president, and said the assumption that black voters should be Democrats was insulting.

"When did we reach a point where you have to have a certain philosophy because of the color of your skin?" he asked.

Carson, 61, received a standing ovation when he said he plans to retire because "there are so many more things that could be done."

One of those, potentially, could be a run for president, he hinted.

"Let's say you magically put me in the White House," he said, to another standing ovation.

Carson has previously discussed whether he would run for president, and similarly has decided not to give a firm "no."

"That's not my intention," he told ABC's Jonathan Karl in February after his National Prayer Breakfast speech. "But I always say, 'I'll leave that up to God."

Still, he talked up his potential credentials during his CPAC speech, notably his understanding of issues such as economics.

"It's not brain surgery," the neurosurgeon said.

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