On CNN’s Wednesday broadcast of “Crossfire,” Dr. Ben Carson, author of “One Nation” went toe-to-toe with former Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH) and former Obama campaign adviser Stephanie Cutter over remarks he made back in March likening the communication of public discourse to Nazi Germany.
Partial transcript as follows:
STRICKLAND: You know, the good doctor here compared our country to Nazi Germany, and — and that’s the kind of rhetoric that is divisive and really tears our country apart at a time — when it comes to foreign policy, we ought to be one nation and we ought to be pulling together.
GINGRICH: Do you want to explain that?
CARSON: Yes, let me address that, because what I said is that most of the people in Nazi Germany did not believe in what Hitler was doing. But did they speak up? Did they say anything? And making the analogy that that could happen anywhere where people don’t speak up, particularly when they disagree with what’s going on, No. 1 —
STRICKLAND: Doctor, you speak up —
CARSON: No. No. 2, you said that what I had said previously, all of those things occurred under George Bush. The uprising in Iran occurred in 2009. The last time I checked, Barack Obama was president in 2009. And the invasion of Georgia occurred during the transitional period. So, how can you say that those are George Bush’s fault?
CUTTER: It actually didn’t. But let me just clarify one thing.
CARSON: During the political season when we were in the process —
CUTTER: Right, we had a current president at that time. It was George W. Bush.
But let me just clarify. Are you saying that America is like Nazi Germany? I’m confused by that comment.
CARSON: No, what I am saying, and to me it doesn’t sound like a conflict statement at all. I said that people in Nazi Germany did not, most of them, believe in what Hitler was doing. But instead of protesting, instead of registering their displeasure, they simply decided to go along to get along. That is a very dangerous thing to do.
CUTTER: And is it happening —
CARSON: And I was using that as an example of how dangerous that can be. And I’m making a point to the American people that if, in fact, you feel differently about what’s going on, you should not be shut up. You need to talk about —
STRICKLAND: Doctor, no one is being shut up in America. You’re on FOX News. You write books. Newt talks, Stephanie talks, I talk.
CARSON: What is that?
STRICKLAND: I don’t engage in political correctness. Maybe you do. But, Doctor, these are your quotes. You said, “We live in a Gestapo age, and we’re” — this is a quote — “we’re very much like Nazi Germany.” And then you write a book about America the beautiful. That seems to be such a contradiction. CARSON: Did you read the book?
STRICKLAND: I have not read the book, no.
CARSON: I rest my case.
CARSON: You don’t even know what the book is about.
STRICKLAND: The fact that I haven’t read your book?
CARSON: Because you’re making these claims and then using the fact that I write a book to back up your claims and you haven’t even read the book.
STRICKLAND: I’m using the title of your book, “America the Beautiful,” and that’s a beautiful phrase.
CARSON: Did you ever hear the phrase that you can’t judge a book by its cover? Do you know why people say that? Maybe because you need to read the book.
STRICKLAND: Then maybe you can’t judge a book by the title. I don’t know.
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