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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Dr. Ben Carson On The Campaign And The Looming Open Convention

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Dr. Ben Carson joined me today to discuss the state of the campaign:




HH: Joined now by Dr. Ben Carson, candidate for the presidency of the United States. I’ll be asking him questions next week in Houston, further on down the line in Miami. Dr. Carson, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show. It’s always a pleasure.

BC: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

HH: My first question to you is, the news is breaking this afternoon that Nikki Haley is endorsing Marco Rubio in South Carolina. I know it’s a disappointment to lose a governor, but does it change your campaign in any way?

BC: No, it really doesn’t really change anything at all. You know, I am not a mainstream candidate, and I don’t expect a lot of the mainstream people to jump on the bandwagon.

HH: All right, now Dr. Carson, the biggest news, of course, is the untimely passing of Justice Scalia. Did you know Justice Scalia at all?

BC: Yes, I did. I received an honorary degree with him some years back at William And Mary, and what an incredible wit he was. He was just a very pleasant person to be around.

HH: Well, it’s with great sadness that we have to begin the political battle immediately, but the left floods the zone. Do you have advice for the United States Senate on whether or not they ought to hold hearings and a vote on any nominee the President sends up?

BC: Well, they don’t have to do anything. Nobody can make them do it. And you know, certainly, if the President were to nominate somebody who was a pure jurist, a Constitutionalist in the same vein as Scalia was, I suspect that they probably would take that up. But if he elects another ideologue like the last two that he has done, there’s absolutely no reason why they should.

HH: What about someone like Loretta Lynch? I don’t want them to hold hearings, even if he nominates me. I’ve said that. He can nominate me. I don’t want him to hold hearings or a vote, because the Court is so precariously balanced on the edge of erasing the Free Exercise Clause and the 2nd Amendment, that I just don’t want them to risk it. But you’re okay with them having hearings if he sends up someone who is allegedly center-right?

BC: Well, they’d have to be more than allegedly. They would have to be somebody who really has shown a history of the kind of jurisprudence that we’ve seen from Justice Scalia himself. Otherwise, we’re diminishing his legacy.

HH: Let me play for you former Secretary of State Clinton yesterday talking about the President’s intention to nominate. The first word she says, which is clipped, is Republicans.

HRC: …say they’ll reject anyone President Obama nominates, no matter how qualified. Some are even saying he doesn’t have the right to nominate anyone as if somehow, he’s not the real president. You know, that’s in keeping what we’ve heard all along, isn’t it? Many Republicans talk in coded racial language about takers and losers. They demonize President Obama and encourage the ugliest impulses of the paranoid fringe. This kind of hatred and bigotry has no place in our politics or our country.

HH: So Dr. Carson, are you talking in coded racial language?

BC: Well, I mean, I think she does. And you know, they’re always going to bring up the race issue anytime they don’t get their way like little children having a temper tantrum. It’s kind of comical, quite frankly. And you know, if everything is racial, why aren’t they saying that any problems that I have are because of racial prejudice? You know, why does it always only go in one direction. That makes no sense.

HH: It doesn’t make any. It’s a straw man as well, because I have not heard one person argue the President doesn’t have the right to nominate. Of course, he does. So it’s a made up argument. It must drive you crazy as a man of science to hear people throw out false arguments, because you always had to make your life’s, and the decisions in the operating room, based on data.

BC: Yeah, well, what really is sickening is that we have reached this point in our country. You know, originally the Supreme Court was supposed to be made up of people who were not partisans, who loved our country, who understood the Constitution, and wanted to maintain America based on our Constitution. It has become a partisan place, and the President is one of the most partisan people that we’ve ever seen. So you know, the Republicans really don’t have any choice, quite frankly, but not to confirm someone, unless he goes in a completely opposite direction, which will be very counter to anything that he’s done before.

HH: Let me, if I can, switch over to the race on the Republican side, Dr. Carson. It is, it’s a calamitous collision at this point between all sorts of invective and hammers being thrown and windows being broken. Did you ever expect it to get this way when you got into the race?

BC: Well, I had hoped that maybe they would have learned from what happened in 2012 when they tore each other down and made it possible for Obama, who had a record that no one could have won on, to win. And you know, why don’t we learn from these things? Why do we always find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

HH: I don’t know. I just don’t know. Let me ask about the last debate. You and Governor Kasich sort of stayed out of it. The other four had the tag team Wrestlemania event going on. What did you think of that?

BC: I thought it was silly. I thought it was ridiculous. And well, I mean, I know why it happened, because you know, people respond to it. We love the entertainment. You know, we’ve almost gotten to be like the ancient Romans. You know, they wanted to go to the Coliseum and see the blood and gore while the society was crumbling around them. And you know, at some point, maybe we might actually start talking about the actual issues. We never seem to get to the issues of the potential financial collapse of our nation as we continue to accumulate debt. Nobody ever talks about the fiscal gap and what the implications are. No one talks about what’s happening to the American dream when we have to continue to suppress the interest rate so that people, average people don’t have a mechanism for increasing their monetary position. This doesn’t make any sense, and we don’t even talk about it.

HH: We also don’t talk about the general vulgarity of the culture. Killer Mike is a rapper. I’m going to stand in defense of the former Secretary of State Clinton at this moment. Yesterday at a Sanders rally, he declared that she doesn’t, having a uterus doesn’t qualify her to be president. That’s a vulgar comment. That’s not what she’s running on. Yes, she’s making an appeal to be a first woman president, but what’s wrong with our culture that people say stuff like this? You can just say she’s wrong on everything, so I’m against her, or I’m a socialist and I’m for Bernie Sanders as a result. But why does it have to go there?

BC: Well, you know, again, this goes back to the entertainment aspect. Remember when you were in grade school, and people would get out on the schoolyard and talk about each other’s mama and various things like that, and whoever could come up with the best comment to make everybody laugh won? You know, we’ve taken that…

HH: Dr. Carson, I had Catholic nuns, so that didn’t happen on our playground.

BC: (laughing)

HH: It didn’t.

BC: Well, you were lucky.

HH: (laughing) We were clobbered if that happened. So let me go back and talk some more about the defense issue, because you’re in South Carolina. And South Carolina is a military state. Yesterday, Ted Cruz unveiled a plan for 12 carrier groups. John Kasich wants 15 carrier groups. Has Dr. Ben Carson put out a statement on the military, yet?

BC: Well, you know, what’s interesting is right now, we have three active carrier groups…

HH: Yeah.

BC: …you know, out of, you know, a potential 11, and we have so much down time in these things. And what we really need to be talking about is probably more efficiently manage and maintain our carrier groups, because at the rate that we’re going, we’re never going to be able to respond to, you know, multiple episodes around the world. You know, we used to be able to do two. Now, the President says just one. And you know, we live in a world where we’re likely to have multiple. We’ve got things going on in the Korean Peninsula, not to mention all the things going on with ISIS and the global jihadists. And you know, anything could happen at this stage in the game. And if we’re not able to respond to it, it really places us in a great deal of jeopardy. So it’s those principles we have to become much more effective in maintaining our carrier groups. And we have to become a little faster at putting them together. Right now, we’re taking ten years to build a carrier.

HH: Right.

BC: That’s ridiculous.

HH: Right.

BC: This is America.

HH: Do you, do you think (laughing) you’re, we just to be able to, the Yorktown was built, I think, in 18 months during World War II. Do you think you have the skill set necessary to oversee a Defense buildup, Dr. Carson?

BC: Well, I think I have the skills necessary to appoint the people who do know how to do that, absolutely.

HH: All right.

BC: You know, you have to be able to look at the big picture and understand what the things are that have to be done. And you know, one of the reasons that, as a neurosurgeon, I was able to accomplish things that had never been done before by very smart people, is I didn’t ever think that I was the only one who knew everything. But I knew how to put together the right kind of people to get it accomplished.

HH: Let me ask, to close, by offering some advice to the GOP field. How would you like to see this race go forward at this point? We have two debates left in the next 15 days. We have Super Tuesday I, Super Tuesday II, we’ve got Nevada. I don’t know how long you intend to go or what you need to do to keep going, but what is your plan, and what would you like to see happen?

BC: Well, you know, my plan is to continue on as long as I’m receiving, you know, vigorous support from the people, which continues to be the case right now. And I have, you know, a lot of people saying to me don’t you even dare think about dropping out. We need that voice of reason. And who knows what’s going to happen? You know, the frontrunner, all kinds of things are possible to him. And that’s why a baseball games nine full innings. We don’t call it after the third inning. And if you quit after the third inning, another team definitely will win.

HH: Well, I believe we’re going to have an open convention. I don’t know how anyone is, I look at the rules and the polls, I don’t see how anyone accumulates 1,237 delegates. You’ve already got some delegates, Dr. Carson. Are you going to hang onto them and just go to the distance to Cleveland and have some chips at the table?

BC: Right now, that seems a reasonable course of action. But obviously, I’m going to be paying attention to how things play out, particularly on Super Tuesday, and you know, the SCC primary. I’m going to be looking at all of that, obviously, very carefully.

HH: Of the other people in the race, if you were to have a second choice besides Dr. Carson, you’ve seen them more closely longer than anyone, actually. Who would you pick to be president from the other five?

BC: One of the things I’ve learned in the time that I’ve been in the political arena is you never answer a question like that.

HH: (laughing)

BC: (laughing)

HH: Yeah, but you know that you get asked them all the time.

BC: (laughing) You will get asked them. I do understand that.

HH: All right, so is there a point at which you will answer that if you get out? If you ever get out, and I think you’re actually going to go to Cleveland. I see a path for you all the way there. And by the way, what’s the website, Dr. Carson, where people go to support your campaign?

BC: Oh, And also, you will see there policies on virtually everything.

HH: Ben Carson…

BC: In depth policies, not just bullet points.

HH: So if in fact it becomes obvious to you that it’s an open convention, but that you don’t have a plurality or a majority, will you eventually come to a conclusion to endorse somebody else or throw your support behind somebody else?

BC: Yeah, I would obviously at some point, or maybe they might throw their support behind me. You know, it’s just too early to see at this stage of the game.

HH: Well, keep coming back, Dr. Carson, good luck, continued good strength and energy and protection on the campaign trail. I always appreciate talking to you.

BC: Thank you, it’s great to be with you. Thank you, bye bye.

End of interview.


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