Carson speaks at legislative prayer breakfast, reiterates lack of interest in public office

ANNAPOLIS — A renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital surgeon said Friday that while people have been urging him to run for president after a recent speech gained national attention, he doesn’t aspire to run for office.

Ben Carson

Johns Hopkins Hospital surgeon Dr. Ben Carson, right, signs a book for Del. William Frank, R-Baltimore County, in Annapolis on Friday. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

“It’s nothing that I aspire to,” Dr. Ben Carson told The Associated Press after speaking at a legislative prayer breakfast across the street from the Maryland State House.

“First of all, I don’t think I would fit, because I don’t believe in political correctness, and I certainly don’t believe in getting into bed with special interest groups. It would make it difficult. That would have to be something that God would orchestrate, because I couldn’t do it through traditional methods. That’s for sure.”

Carson, who is a registered independent, made headlines last month when he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, as President Barack Obama sat nearby. In his speech, Carson criticized political correctness for stunting healthy debate and he talked about the virtues of a flat tax. An editorial in The Wall Street Journal after his speech ran with the headline “Ben Carson for President.”

Carson, who is the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, noted he has been speaking publicly for 20 years, and people have urged him before to run for president.

“What I really would prefer to do is to get people to recognize that this is America, and that you do have rights, and that you can stand up, and that you can talk, and that you can express yourself, but you can’t just sit around and mope and complain and say they’re taking our country away from us,” Carson said Friday. “You can’t do that. You’ve got to get involved.”

Carson also said he was surprised by the attention his speech received last month.

“I didn’t expect it,” Carson said. “It touched a chord. There’s no question about that, and what it really said to me is that there is an enormous group of people in this country who don’t feel represented, who just kind of feel like they’re just existing, and we need to find a way to draw those people back into the process, and a lot of people are really turned off by what’s going on in our system with all the infighting, and they are just so encouraged that somebody is talking about this.”

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