Ben Carson Just Took One Step Closer to Running for President

That’s great news for his burgeoning fan club.

World-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and philanthropist Dr. Benjamin Carson Sr. speaks to an audience in Central Michigan University in October 2009.
National Journal
Emma Roller
Add to Briefcase
Emma Roller
Aug. 1, 2014, 9:07 a.m.

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.

The Wash­ing­ton Times, for which Car­son writes a column, broke the news on Fri­day. The PAC, called One Na­tion, echoes the title of Car­son’s re­cent book, which he is on tour to pro­mote.

“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 »
AT HEART OF FEDERAL RACKETEERING LAWSUIT
A.T.F. Agents Filled Secret Coffers
46 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

Agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives " used a web of shadowy cigarette sales to funnel tens of millions of dollars into a secret bank account," according to a federal racketeering lawsuit filed by a group of tobacco farmers who claim they were "swindled out of $24 million." The agents allegedly used shipments of snack food disguised as tobacco. The Justice Department is reportedly investigating the matter, though as of now it is unclear how widespread the practice was or if it is still ongoing.

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Many Signatures Has the Petition for Trump’s Tax Returns Received?
55 minutes ago
THE ANSWER

More than 1 million, setting a record. More than 100,000 signatures triggers an official White House response.

Source:
TIED TO RUSSIA INVESTIGATION
Sen. Collins Open to Subpoena of Trump’s Tax Returns
56 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Sen. Susan Collins, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, "said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia." She said the committee is also open to subpoenaing Trump himself. "This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," she said of Russia's interference. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area."

Source:
NPR ALSO LAUNCHES ETHICS WATCH
Obama Staffers Launch Group to Monitor Trump Ethics
56 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

"Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight. United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months." Meanwhile, NPR has launched a "Trump Ethics Monitor" to track the resolution of ten ethics-related promises that the president has made.

Source:
DOESN’T WISH TO JOIN TRUMP
Christie Turned Down Labor Secretary
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Over a meatloaf lunch at the White House last week, Donald Trump offered the job of Labor secretary to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a longtime loyalist. Christie promptly turned down the offer, once again signaling that he has no desire to move to Washington, D.C. to join the Trump administration. The job ended up going to Alexander Acosta, who is expected to sail through the Senate confirmation process.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login