DETROIT, Michigan —Dr. Ben Carson rolled out his White House bid in front of a fired up capacity crowd at the Detroit Music Hall for the Performing Arts. Carson is competing against an unfriendly news cycle—with a terrorist attack in Texas, race issues in Baltimore, the announcements of two other Republican candidates for president and the release of the bombshell book Clinton Cash this week—but he dazzled as he made his first official steps onto the political stage.
About a thousand supporters crammed into the downtown venue, and as they waited for the event to start, they cheered loudly yelling: “Run Ben Run! Run Ben Run!”
As Carson walked into the theater, the thousand or so people rose to their feet cheering loudly chanting “Run Ben Run!” again. Carson’s wife Candy Carson, a concert violinist, kicked off the event by playing the national anthem. With the crowd on its feet, the Selected of God choir—a local Detroit choir—sang the rapper Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” along with a number of patriotic songs. The group, according to local news outlet WXYZ, is known “outside Detroit for their work with Eminem and in a Chrysler commercial.”
After that, Nashville-bashed vocalists from the group Veritas performed a series of songs—making Carson’s campaign announcement unique, almost like a concert.
Carson’s campaign then played the video that ran exclusively on Breitbart News on Saturday night—and the Selected of God choir came back out on stage. Soon after, Carson himself appeared to a standing ovation and more chants of “Run Ben Run!”
The impressive lineup of events leading up to this speech—the pre-speech goings-on inside the Music Hall, preceded by Carson attending a roundtable and speaking to an assembly at the Dr. Benjamin Carson medical-career-focused public high school in downtown Detroit and before that remarks by the neurosurgeon to a group of supporters at the African American art museum at Wayne State University across town—was nothing compared to Carson’s speech.
Without a teleprompter and with no prepared remarks, Carson spoke for more than 30 minutes about his story of rising up from destitute poverty here in inner-city Detroit to becoming a leading surgeon—heading Johns Hopkins Hospital’s pediatric neurosurgery division.
“This of course is my wonderful wife Candy, who’s also from Detroit,” Carson said as he took the stage to uproarious applause. “Even though we’re both from Detroit, we had to go to New Haven [Connecticut] to meet each other. But Candy has been by my side now for 40 years and she’s my best friend.”
Carson then introduced his three sons to the crowd—which went wild each time he brought up another one.
“Now that I’ve introduced my family, you’re saying: ‘Well, who are you?’” Carson said. “Well, I’ll tell: I’m Ben Carson, and I’m a candidate for president of the United States.”
The crowd’s roar was deafening.
After setting the stage a little bit more with some extra details from his personal rise to prominence and his family, Carson proceeded to dissect—almost surgically—the problems in Washington and with big government.
“There are many people who criticize me and say Carson wants to get rid of all of the safety nets and welfare programs even though he must have personally benefited from them,” Carson said.
This is a blatant lie. I have no desire to get rid of safety nets for people who need them. I have a strong desire to get rid of programs that create dependency in able-bodied people. And we’re not doing people a favor when we pat them on the head and say “there, there, we’re going to take care of all your needs—you don’t have to worry about anything.” You know who else says stuff like that? Socialists.
And their programs always end up looking the same: They want to take care of people from the cradle to the grave, but they want to be involved in every aspect of their lives and they want most of their earnings. But they say it’ll be a utopia and nobody will have to worry. The problem is all of those societies end up looking the same, with a small group of elites at the top controlling everything, a rapidly diminishing middle class and a vastly expanded dependent class. That was not the intention for this country.
Carson then explained he’s “not an anti-government person by any stretch of the imagination” because he believes the “government as described in our Constitution is wonderful but now we’ve gone far beyond what our Constitution described.”
But “we’ve begun to allow it to expand based on what the political class wants because they like to increase their power and dominion over the people,” Carson said. “I think it’s time for the people to rise up and take the government back.”
The crowd went wild, rising to its feet for one of many standing ovations for Carson.
“Now, the political class won’t like me saying stuff like that—and I’ll tell you a secret: the political class comes from both parties,” Carson continued. “And it comes from all over the place. It includes, unfortunately, even the media now.”
Carson then spoke directly to the group of reporters—about 30 or so, maybe more—gathered at the back of the room.
“You know, the media—the press—is the only business in America that is protected by our Constitution,” Carson said.
You have to ask yourself a question: Why were they the only ones protected? It was because our founders envisioned a press that was on the side of the people, not a press that was on the side of the Democrats or the Republicans or the federalists or the anti-federalists. This is a direct appeal to media: You guys have an almost sacred position in a true democracy. Please don’t abuse it.
Applause broke out again.
Carson then explained his mother made him read as a child, saying that helped him achieve the success he has enjoyed. Anyone, he says, can succeed through hard work.
“When I was reading those books, which I really didn’t want to—I’d start reading about people of accomplishment—I began to recognize that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you in life is you,” Carson said.
It’s not somebody else. You don’t have to be dependent on the good graces of somebody else. You can do it on your own if you have a normal brain and you’re willing to work and you’re willing to have that can-do attitude. You got to remember, it was the can-do attitude that allowed this nation to rise so quickly because we had people who didn’t stop when there was an obstacle.
Carson called for Americans to stand up to the out-of-control federal government in Washington, begging them to make their voices heard. Nearly every sentence was broken up by loud applause from the audience.
“You have to realize that one of the rules in Saul Alinsky’s ‘Rules For Radicals’ is you make the majority believe that what they believe is no longer relevant and no intelligent person thinks that way and the way you believe is the only way intelligent people believe,” Carson said.
That way, they’ll keep silent. I’ll tell you something—they don’t care if you don’t believe what they believe as long as you keep your mouth shut. That’s what we have to start doing: We have to start opening our mouths for the values and principles of America. I got to tell you something: I’m not politically correct. I’m probably never going to be politically correct because I’m not a politician. I don’t want to be a politician because politicians do what is politically expedient. I want to do what’s right. We have to think about that once again in our country.
Carson laid out his concerns about what’s happening in Baltimore, saying the “turmoil” ripping that city apart is something that’s happening all across the country. The neurosurgeon called on Americans nationwide to “use your brain” to “think for yourself” and fight back against the political class.
“Interestingly enough, many of these people buy hook, line and sinker the idea that our economy is getting much better and that the unemployment rate is down to 5.5 percent,” Carson said.
If our unemployment rate were at 5.5 percent, our economy would be humming. But obviously it’s not—and it’s one of the reasons that our founders said that our freedom and our way of life is dependent upon a well-informed and a well-educated populous. Because what you have to know is you can make the unemployment rate anything you want it to be based on what numbers you include and what numbers you exclude.
So you have to look at the labor force participation rate, which is the number of people who are eligible to work who are actually working. That number has been steadily going down since 2009 and is now at a 37-year low. Once you understand those kinds of things, it’s imminently possible for slick politicians and biased media to convince you that everything is wonderful when your eyes are telling you something different. I’m saying to people around this nation right now: Stop being loyal to a party or to a man and use your brain to think for yourself. That is really the key to us as a nation becoming successful again.
Carson berated the way Obamacare was passed–how the political class just “rammed it down our throats” without anyone in Congress actually reading it.
“If we accept it [this treatment from politicians], it will continue–and it will get worse,” Carson said.
We have to get the right people in place. We need to take not only the executive branch in 2016–and when I say “we,” I’m not talking about Republicans. I’m talking about anybody who has common sense. We have to have another wave election and bring in people with common sense who actually love our nation and are willing to work for our nation and are more concerned about the next generation than about the next election. That’s what’s going to help us.
Carson also called on citizens to stand up and defeat sitting incumbent members–Democrat or Republican–in Congress who continue voting to add to the national debt.
“$18 trillion plus in national debt, and we have representatives who applaud themselves if the deficit doesn’t go up as much this quarter as it did last quarter,” Carson said.
They are completely out to lunch. We have got to drive that thing back down. But it’s our responsibility. You need to know who your representatives are and how they voted–not how they said they voted–and if they voted to keep raising that debt ceiling, to keep compromising the future of our children and our grandchildren, you need to throw them out of office.