Dr. Ben Carson—the retired neurosurgeon-cum-conservative rock star—announced he is starting his own political action committee, taking him one step closer to announcing a presidential run in 2016.
“I would say we are definitely a step or two closer than we were a year ago,” Carson told the Times when asked about the likelihood of running for president.
Carson gained notoriety among conservatives after delivering a fiery speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013. He has gone on to irk liberals and delight conservatives with, shall we say, his imaginative language. He has said the Affordable Care Act is “the worst thing that’s happened in this nation since slavery.”
The One Nation PAC will be led by businessman Terry Giles. Like Carson, Giles has received the Horatio Alger Award for overcoming adversity.
A retired lawyer, Giles is now the head of Giles Enterprises, an investment firm based in Houston, Texas. When Giles was an attorney, he represented Kenneth Lay, the Enron founder who was convicted on 10 counts of fraud during the company’s corruption scandal.
A multimillionaire, Giles lives in Houston with his wife but also owns houses in France and Mexico. He is also “well-versed in crisis management”—a good skill for any political manager to have.
As the head of Carson’s new PAC, Giles will join an eccentric cast of characters who are already agitating for a Carson 2016 bid. As Marin Cogan wrote in National Journal last month, one of Carson’s main boosters is John Philip Sousa IV, the great-grandson of the famous marching band composer John Philip Sousa.
Sousa has met Carson only once, but has successfully raised $7.2 million for Carson’s candidacy through his own super PAC, the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee. Vernon Robinson, who cofounded the organization with Sousa, says Carson’s new PAC is a welcome addition to their efforts.
“We’re ecstatic,” Robinson told National Journal on Friday.
And while the pro-Carson group has earned grassroots enthusiasm—its Facebook page boasts more than 160,000 fans—the candidate himself is a ways off from becoming a presidential heavyweight. In a recent column, Carson chastised President Obama’s foreign policy, especially with respect to the conflict in Ukraine.
“What has the Obama administration done in response to this aggression by Russia? Not really much, other than impose toothless sanctions on Russian businessmen close to Putin (but not the Russian president himself), which have done little to make Russia change course,” he wrote. “Is this what Ronald Reagan would have done?”
Actually … yes. In 1982, the Reagan administration tried, unsuccessfully, to impose sanctions on the USSR in an effort to derail its Siberian gas pipeline.
Statements like these could prove problematic come 2016. But Carson and his fans have plenty of time to up their chops before then.
What We're Following See More »
"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
Alexander Acosta was confirmed Thursday night as Labor secretary, officially filling out President Trump's cabinet on day 98 of his presidency. Nine Democrats joined every present Republican in voting to approve Acosta, with the final tally at 60-38. Trump's first choice for Labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination after taking criticism for hiring undocumented workers and for other matters in his personal life.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."