The Dos Equis beer ads claim to feature the “Most Interesting Man in the World.” But that fictional character has nothing on Dr. Ben Carson, a real pediatric neurosurgeon who rose from poverty to save lives in the operating room.
Dr. Carson is not only fascinating, but he’s extremely busy these days. Since he retired as a surgeon in 2013, he has become a best-selling author and an in-demand speaker. His travel schedule keeps him on the road far more often than he was when teaching at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
But even with the pace he maintains, Dr. Carson simply cannot be everywhere. Take January 19.
It’s Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday. But Dr. Carson is not taking time off. Quite the opposite. For months now, Dr. Carson has been planning a town hall meeting at Howard University. It’s billed as an “exchange between Dr. Carson, and Benjamin Crump and the guests/audience on how we seek solutions and move beyond discourse regarding race relations in America.”
He will not be in, or near, New Hampshire.
That’s unfortunate for the organizers of the 13th annual “Keeping the Dream Alive” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner Celebration. It’s set to be that evening in Manchester. And organizers had hoped Dr. Carson would speak.
Wayne Jennings, the man who puts the event together, told the New Hampshire Union Leader he reached out to Dr. Carson through the Washington Speakers Bureau and learned that the speaking fee would be too “hefty” for his non-profit organization. But when that revelation appeared in the paper, it was news to Dr. Carson, who had declined the invitation because of a schedule conflict.
On November 19, Jennings sent his first email asking about Dr. Carson’s availability. Carson had already been planning his D.C. town hall event long before that email arrived. “The doctor is in such demand that he often books appearances as much as a year in advance,” his business manager, Armstrong Williams, informed Breitbart News in an exclusive interview. So it’s not the fee that’s keeping Dr. Carson away from New Hampshire; it’s geography.
Jennings should have known that. Williams provided an email chain from the Speaker’s Bureau to Dr. Carson’s office.
On the same day the request came in, November 19, a staffer in Carson’s office promptly emailed a response to the doctor’s agent at the Speaker’s Bureau. “Please thank them for their kind invite, but let them know that Dr. Carson has a previously scheduled engagement for January 19,” she wrote. “Please make sure you let them know that he send [sic] his best wishes for a successful event.”
Williams pointed out that, “unlike many political figures, Dr. Carson gives several free speeches each year, and is often willing to drop his fee for worthy events such as the New Hampshire MLK Day event.”
Sadly, the Union Leader‘s Dan Tuohy never reached out to Dr. Carson before writing that his fee was simply too high for the organization. The reality, as Williams explained, is that Dr. Carson would have been glad to waive his fee –if he had been available.
As for future appearances, they will largely be determined by whether or not Dr. Carson decides to run for president in 2016. “If he does, the doctor will end up making many, many free appearances next year,” Williams noted. This includes New Hampshire and several other states.
Dr. Carson plans to make a decision about a presidential run by May 1.