Former pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson was interviewed by Roland Martin on Friday on NewsOne Now. The lengthy interview covered a variety of topics, including Carson's controversial comparisons of Obamacare to slavery, his plan for alternatives to Obamacare, and his response to criticisms of black conservatives.
Carson became a lightning-rod for conservatives after speaking out against the Affordable Care Act at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. Now retired, he was a world-renowned neurosurgeon. He is also the author of six bestselling books, including "Gifted Hands" about his work.
Here are the highlights from the interview:
Role of Black Conservatives
Martin asked Carson to comment on a point made by Lenny McAllister, a black conservative that when issues come up, like Trayvon Martin, issues in schools, police brutality, etc. often black conservatives get criticized because they don't speak up, "'Where were you when we were beaten and down-trodden?' ...Is his point a fair criticism in terms of how other African Americans view someone who is black and conservative?"
Carson answered: "Well, it would only be a fair criticism if you could turn it around the other way and say 'Where are the black liberals when atrocities occur?"
"Such as?" Martin said.
"Such as Condoleezza Rice being disinvited to give a commencement at Rutgers University simply because she's a conservative," Carson replied. "Look at where this woman came from. Born to a family of sharecroppers. She has gone through becoming a concert pianist, moving to secretary of state in the United States."
"My point is organizations like the NAACP and organizations that supposedly are for the advancement of colored people, do you ever see them coming out in support of a conservative black person?" Carson asked. "Why don't they just add another letter to it, National Association for the Advancement of Progressive Colored People?"
"Think for yourself"
A caller asked a question about whether they should take Carson seriously when parents and friends have said "that man is crazy."
Carson replied: "Think for yourself. Don't be a peon. Look at the facts, look at the life I've led; look at the things I say in the context of the big picture. Don't listen to people who are simply trying to control you, who want your vote. If you look at 50 years of progressive policies, what have they done for the black community?
"Stop and think about it. Seventy-plus percent of out-of-wedlock births, huge numbers of our young men in the penal system, in the juvenile justice system. You look at the poverty rates that are getting worse, you look at relationships that are going down the tubes, you look at the fact that we've moved away from God and allowed the government to be the substitute. These things are not helping us at all."
Martin responded that there are progressive policies and conservative policies that don't necessarily have the best interests of people at heart, and that it's still a matter of "advocating for what's right."
"And thinking for yourself," Carson added.
Will he run for President?
Martin asked Carson what seems to be on everyone's mind: will he run for president?
"I'll leave that in the hands of God," Carson answered. "It is not something that I really want to do. I feel a lot of pressure, a lot of people pushing me in that direct.
"What I would like to see is a candidate - I don't care whether the candidate is a Republican or a Democrat - I would like to see a candidate who understands the Constitution of the United States, who understands values and principles, who understands exceptionalism, who understands excellence, who pushes those things, who understands integrity and truth and can put those things on the front burner, not the backburner."
Dr. Carson Defends Slavery Remarks
Carson tells Martin that he has family that was enslaved and "I'm not trying to make light of slavery, what I'm trying to get people to understand is that we have a government program that takes control of the most important thing people have, which is your health...."
Martin: "...But why even bring that up, I've seen other folks who use slavery in their analogies, and the point I make is, you know what, leave that alone. Because what happens is when we go there, then all of a sudden, it brings up other issues... Why not allow the criticism to stand on its own, instead of suggesting that it's like slavery..."
Carson replies that he is fighting two wars, one about healthcare, and one about political correctness. "There's words you're just not supposed to use, and when you use them, a bunch of people say 'oh he used that word!' and they change the argument. The argument here is about our healthcare and our control, and whether we want to keep that control or whether we want to turn it over to the government..."
Carson added that he actually had said that "Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery," not that it was equal (in evil) to slavery.
Dr. Carson's Plan for Healthcare
Carson is chairman of the American Legacy PAC's "Save Our Healthcare Project" and has laid out 7 principles for an alternative to Obamacare.
"Is healthcare a right? I don't believe it is. I believe it is a responsibility for a compassionate society," Carson said.
"So why not a right?" Martin asked.
"Because I don't see it in the Constitution - anywhere... recognize that if you make healthcare a right, you also have to make food a right, housing a right, clothing a right, that's why I say it's a responsibility. "
Carson offers a number of solutions to Obamacare. He talks about bringing healthcare prices down, electronic medical records, health savings accounts, medical malpractice suits, and more.
Watch Dr. Carson elaborate on his plan for healthcare in the U.S.