Feb 27, 2013 No Comments ›› Jake Hammer
Excerpted from THE HILL: The White House repeatedly asked Ben Carson for his speech before the rising Republican star criticized President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this month.
Carson, a prominent neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University, declined to do so, noting that he doesn’t put his speeches down on paper beforehand.
“I told them that I don’t have an advance copy because I don’t write out my speeches and I don’t use teleprompters …they asked more than once … I gave them the [Biblical] texts around which the remarks would be framed … I said read those texts, the remarks will be framed around those … that should have told them something,” Carson said in an interview with The Hill this week.
His speech attracted a lot of media attention, most notably a “Ben Carson for president” piece from The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. It also landed him on two recent Sunday political shows.
Many on the right championed the address, which appeared to make Obama uncomfortable and has been viewed on YouTube nearly 2.8 million times.
Liberals, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), criticized Carson for delivering a “political speech” during a religious event.
But the White House, which did not comment for this article, has not criticized Carson.
After Carson finished his remarks at the prayer breakfast, the usually loquacious Vice President Biden sat next to the physician but had little to say from that point on, Carson pointed out.
Carson, 61, chuckled as he recalled the lack of chitchat: “Later on, [Biden] said, ‘Nice being with you.’ ”
And Carson said the president approached him after to say “he appreciated me being there and he admired me and shook my hand.”
Carson, who is black, has emerged on the national stage as the GOP is attempting to improve its outreach to minorities. But most of that effort has focused on Hispanics, black Republicans say, adding that the party needs to do more to court the African-American vote.
Carson, a registered independent whose views are conservative, believes the “spirituality of the country is sick right now,” and he didn’t want to waste the opportunity with a “vanilla” speech.