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2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign: Ben Carson

Doctor Ben Carson enjoyed a successful and illustrious career as a neurosurgeon and author, and entered the world of politics in 2013 following a speech delivered at the National Prayer Breakfast. He is a candidate running for the Republican party's nomination for President during the 2016 election.

Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan on September 18, 1951 to a Seventh-day Adventist Minister father and house-wife mother. He had a troubled upbringing punctuated with violent outbursts as detailed in his autobiography Gifted Hands, but despite this Ben excelled academically and was offered a position the West Point Military Academy after he graduated high school. Carson received his undergraduate degree at Yale University and his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Michigan, before completing his residency in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

At age 33 Ben Carson was named director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the youngest major division director in the hospital's history. While at Johns Hopkins Dr. Carson specialized in traumatic brain injuries, brain and spinal cord tumors, and epilepsy. He is most famous for completing a grueling 22-hour surgery in 1987, in which he became the first doctor in history to successfully seperate a pair of conjoined twins joined at the head.

Carson received many awards and accolades over his career, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the NAACP Springarn Medal. He was named one of the most admired men in the world by Gallup in 2014, and one of America's best leaders by U.S. News & World Report in 2008.

Dr. Carson has been vocally opposed to the Affordable Care Act, and believes that the nation should abolish for-profit insurance companies. He does not support marriage equality, identifies as pro-life, and has stated publicly that he does not believe in evolution. Carson is against stricter gun control regulations.

Carson flew to Israel in 2014 in a highly publicized visit during which he toured many holy sites but did not meet with any officials. At a rally in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan on May 14, 2015, Carson officially announced his campaign for the presidency.

During his campaign Dr. Carson faced significant backlash to statements that he made concerning slavery, Muslims, and the Holocaust. Dr. Carson stated in an interview on Fox News that in his opinion, the Affordable Care Act is “the worst thing that has happened to this nation since slavery.” In late September 2015 Carson was quoted saying that he would not be in favor of electing a Muslim individual to the Presidency solely based on their religious beliefs. Following a mass shooting at a community college in Oregon in late September, Dr. Carson spoke about the need for less strict gun control legislation. He theorized that, “the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” insinuating that the victims of the Holocaust would not have been slaughtered, had they had easier access to guns. The Anti-Defamation League issued a response to Carson's statement, clarifiying that, “the notion that Hitler’s gun-control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate. The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.” Carson called the ADL's response “total foolishness,” and continued to assert that if German Jews had access to guns at the time, they would have been able to stop, or at least slow, the rise of the Nazis. Carson published an article in the Jerusalem Post on October 14, 2015, titled “Never again means standing with Israel,” in which he clarified his words and spoke of the mutually beneficial relationship that Israel and the United States share.

Jonathan Pollard, controversially jailed for 30 years for selling classified security secrets to Israel in 1985, was released on November 20, 2015. On November 19, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu asked the U.S. government to consider letting Pollard spend his 5 years parole in Israel following his release, a request that the U.S. did not seem to want to entertain. Carson expressed support for letting Pollard spend his parole in Israel on November 22, if it is determined that he will not represent a threat to U.S. security interests.

While speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition on December 3, 2015, Carson insinuated that there is a Star of David on the back of the American one dollar bill, and pronounced the name of the terror organization Hamas as the popular Middle-Eastern dish hummus multiple times.

At the 2016 Iowa caucus Carson came in fourth place behind Cruz, Trump, and Rubio. Carson managed to get 9.3% of the votes, and 3 delegates. Carson did not win any delegates at the New Hampshire Primary on February 9, 2016, and received 2.3% of the votes. After not placing in the top three in any state on “Super Tuesday” Carson announced that he “does not see a political path forward” and will not be attending the upcoming GOP debate. Later that evening, his campaign advisors confirmed that he was in fact suspending his campaign, although he did not say it outright.


U.S. - Israel Relationship

  • “I have a strong feeling that if, you know, our traditional allies in the region had full faith and confidence in us that we wouldn't, like, turn our backs on them like we have on Israel; I think they would be much more enthusiastic about supporting anything that we called for.”
    (Politico, January 4, 2016)
  • “We've turned our backs on Israel. If we turn our backs on our best friend, how would anyone trust us?”
    (Jewish Journal, December 22, 2015)
  • “Know that in a Carson administration you are going to have a very, very strong friend, and we appreciate your courage and example. We need to keep that in mind, and we need to keep in mind the fact that our friends are our friends, our enemies are our enemies, and Israel is certainly our friend, surrounded by enemies, surrounded by people who not only want to do Israel harm, but want to do the United States harm. The global jihad movement is a tremendous enemy of us all. Iran has said that they want to wipe Israel off the face of the map, and they would like to wipe off America as well.”
    (Jerusalem Post, November 6, 2015)
  • “As Americans we stand with Israel because the Jewish state embodies many of the same aspects that make the United States the greatest nation in the world: commitment to human rights, religious liberty for all citizens, the rule of law, equal rights for women, a free press, a robust judicial system. America’s relationship with Israel is one with deep benefits for both nations. This proves invaluable every day in term of strategic cooperation and in specific arenas of homeland security and counterterrorism. The strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship can and must be strengthened.”
    (Jerusalem Post, October 14, 2015)
  • “Israel and the United States have a long, cordial relationship, and I don’t think we should ever leave the Israelis in a position of wondering whether we support them... And that certainly is a question now.”
    (Breaking Israel News, August 14, 2015)
  • “It is absolutely wonderful, and the relationship the United States has had with Israel in technology... has been extremely useful to both of us.”
    (Newsmax, December 19, 2014)
  • “I would make sure that Israel knew that we had their back. Because if their neighbors know that we're backing them up, they're not going to be anywhere near as aggressive.”
    (Haaretz, December 20, 2014)

Iran

  • “The Saudis have been one of our strongest allies in the Middle East and I think it’s unfortunate that we put them in the position that we have by showing the support to Iran that we have with this foolish deal.”
    (ABC News, January 2016)
  • “For the executive branch just to decide we’re going to do this our way, we don’t care that much what you guys have to say, really is a slap in the face to the Founders of this nation and to the way our government is set up.”
    (Daily Caller, July 24, 2015)
  • “The Iran deal announced today with fanfare and another heaping dose of false hope is almost certain to prove an historic mistake with potentially deadly consequences. Without anywhere anytime surprise inspections, a full accounting of Iran’s past secret nuclear arms pursuits, elimination of Iran’s uranium stockpiles and the lifting of any sanctions only upon verification of Iranian compliance this is not a good deal, but a recipe for disaster and the first fateful step toward a frenzied nuclear arms race in the Middle East.”
    (Breitbart, July 14, 2015)

Hamas and the Situation in Gaza

  • “It is fairly difficult to come to an area of compromise with someone whose goal is to destroy you. You can negotiate - ‘Do you destroy me today or tomorrow, half of me today, half tomorrow?’ but these are not good negotiations.”
    (Breaking Israel News, August 14, 2015)

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

  • “I would not be in favor of a two-state solution that would put Israel’s population at risk.”
    (Jerusalem Post, December 19, 2014)
  • “I know that Egypt in the past has made some overtures in terms of providing a place for the Palestinians. That seems to me something worth exploring.”
    (Jerusalem Post, December 19, 2014)
  • “We have to design ways for the Palestinians and the Israelis to work together and to be able to actually experience each other. It's the demonization process that creates so many problems. If we can get a little honesty in those conversations, and a little admission of imperfection on behalf of both sides, we can make a lot of progress.”
    (Newsmax, December 19, 2014)

Immigrant Crisis

  • “What we need to do is get a group of experts together, including people from other countries, some of our friends from Israel, who have had experience screening these people and come up with new guidelines for immigration, and for visas, for people who are coming into this country.”
    (Republican Presidential Debate, January 14, 2016)

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