His initial moves onto the campaign steps have been trailed by controversy over impolitic remarks on homosexuality, gay marriage, the IRS and President Obama. A persistent critic of "political correctness," he has been stung by reactions he has elicited even from conservative news outlets. He complained, for instance, that conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt "was so gleeful thinking that he had caught me" as under-informed about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Lately, Carson said he has chosen his words more carefully. "I have come to understand that if you say something that keeps people from being able to hear your actual message, then there's no point in saying it."
But he'll only compensate so far. "We think the only people who can handle the kinds of decisions that need to be made...are people who are steeped in politics," he explained. "When I go back and look at the Constitution and I look at the writings of the people who put all this together, they never thought there should be this political class or this political pedigree that was necessary. I think what they felt was necessary was wisdom and a love for our Constitution and a love for our country and common sense."
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He harks back to the founders—he cites Franklin and Jefferson as particular inspirations—for his vision of how he hopes to change the country. He wants a more "people-centric" America rather than the "government-centric" one he perceives today, in which government "tells the people to jump and the people say 'How high?'"
He prescribes tax cuts and increased self-reliance to revive the economy and put more Americans on a path of independence and prosperity.Drawing on his experiences from the poor neighborhoods of Detroit to the most advanced 21st century hospitals, he insists that even the hope-starved participants in recent Baltimore don't need government to improve their lives.
"In several states you can get as much or more on government assistance as you can by working a minimum wage job," he explained. "I don't necessarily blame people for saying, 'Look, I can stay home and make this money, or I can go and work this little chicken job that doesn't have many benefits.
"Recognize that if you go and take that chicken job, you gain skills, relationships, the possibility of moving up the ladder. So a year or two or five down the road, you're no longer in that position. This is what people have forgotten."