Ben Carson is going to suspend his presidential campaign for two weeks to hawk his book! This is unprecedented! It shows he’s not serious about running for president! It proves he doesn’t understand anything about how politics works! It’s the end of the world as we know it, and nobody feels fine!
“Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) suspended his presidential campaign for a financial crisis. Famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson is doing so for a book tour,” gasped the Huffington Post. The notion that Carson was “suspending” his campaign appeared in headlines and news stories across the Internet.
All of these stories source back to a single report by ABC News, which does not say anything about Carson “suspending” his presidential campaign. The report, which quotes Carson spokesman Doug Watts, talks about “public campaign events” being put on “hold” for two more weeks. He’s already been refraining from such events for a while, without any fanfare or political media hyperventilation, and his poll numbers went up. He’s doing far better than certain candidates with loads of political experience, money, Establishment support, feverish campaign trail schedules, and famous last names.
This is the ABC report that launched a hundred shocked reports about inexplicable campaign suspensions:
Republican presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson has put his public campaign events on hold for two more weeks to go on book tour for his new tome “A More Perfect Union” and catch up on fundraising events.
The campaign has been careful to separate campaign events and the book tour, and doesn’t want to classify the tour as related to the campaign in any way.
This week he is catching up on fundraising events and will be back on his book tour next week making stops in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. So for the next two weeks, Carson won’t be appearing at any public “campaign events.”
Carson will be going back and forth between campaign fundraising events and book tour events over the next two weeks. His campaign says he has over 20 campaign fundraising events scheduled over that time period.
The campaign says the next time they will appear publicly with Carson will be the day of the next GOP debate on Oct. 28. His last public campaign event was Oct. 2.
So he made it from October 2 to October 14 without anyone having a cow, and his next fully-staffed public appearance will be the GOP debate on October 28. He’s “missing out” on a week when the media can’t shut up about the Democrat debate and Hillary Clinton’s “big comeback.”
This week he’s “catching up on fundraising events,” which sounds an awful lot like serious political activity. He’s going to bounce from book tour events to over 20 campaign fundraising events during his “suspension.”
His fundraising has been going extremely well – $20.8 million in the third quarter, with $11.27 million in the bank and only $25,000 in debt, according to the Des Moines Register. This put him ahead of nearly every other Republican candidate. Even this impressive number may be understated, as he’s been getting a lot of small donations by mail, and his campaign said it still had over 15,000 pieces of mail waiting to be opened.
His campaign plans to use its resources for social media, advertising later in the campaign, and an “expansive get-out-the-vote program,” which is both very smart, and not the strategy of a man primarily interested in running a phony campaign for President to get his book sales up.
One way to avoid racking up a lot of campaign debt early in the game is to win lots of “earned media” coverage, by saying and doing things that compel the press to write about you for free. You’re participating in earned media right this very instant. So is everyone who flipped out over Carson’s unconventional campaign strategy.
In the ABC report, Carson spokesman Doug Watts explained that leaving the campaign staff behind while Carson spends a few days focusing on his book tour alleviates concerns about “co-mingling from the corporate standpoint to the Federal Election Commission standpoint so it’s just better to avoid any bad appearance.”
Does anyone, post-IRS scandal, think it’s a bad idea for Republican candidates to be extra-careful about attracting the interest of Obama Administration regulatory agencies? Does everyone remember which agency IRS scandal kingpin Lois Lerner worked for, before she signed up with Internal Revenue?
The Wall Street Journal described on Thursday that Carson arranged to have a quiet pancake breakfast, without announcing it on social media or inviting more than a few select journalists, because Carson didn’t want to “overwhelm” the diner.
As of this morning, the WSJ notes that he was in Atlanta on the fifth day of his book tour. “Some days we do book tour, and some days we do campaign,” Carson remarked, whilst awaiting his flapjacks.
For some reason, everyone wigging out over the ABC News report seems to have missed Carson telling the Wall Street Journal, and whichever other journalists got to eat pancakes with him, that he was not “suspending” his campaign. “You separate it out,” he explained. “You know, I’m not on book tour today, for instance, which is why I’m talking to you.”
Imagine that – he’s actually considerate, and understands the perils of over-exposure. It should be possible to debate the merits of his campaign schedule without reading apocalyptic significance into it.
His book, by the way, is called A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties, and is available from Amazon.com in both paper and Kindle editions, if you don’t feel like joining in the Great Campaign Suspension and catching up with Dr. Carson to get a signed copy.