- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 8, 2014

Dr. Ben Carson teased thousands of conservatives Saturday about his political future, saying he does not know what God has in store for him, suggesting that he could have a future in elective politics.

Mr. Carson said that he had planned to enjoy retirement, but that the “good lord” had a different plan for him and that he’s “not sure what the culmination of that plan is.”

The remarks were music to the ears of the conservatives that flocked to the Washington region for the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference, where attendees were getting a chance to hear from some of the potential 2016 presidential candidates and some waved “Run, Ben, Run!” banners.

Mr. Carson has said that he will listen to those urging for him to run for The White House, including the leaders and volunteers of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee who hosted a booth here and say they are optimistic that they can persuade Mr. Carson to run.

The draft committee, which is chaired by John Phillip Sousa IV, says it has raised nearly three million dollars in six months and paid to have banners with Mr. Carson’s image plastered on the side of the shuttle buses that were running daily between Washington, D.C. and the Gaylord National Hotel.

And they paid to have Mr. Carson’s face adorn hotel room keys.

Mr. Carson’s stock has been on the rise in conservative circles since the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, where he ripped into Obamacare right in front of President Obama.

He finished second to Sen. Ted Cruz in the October Values Voters Summit and appeared to have strong support from CPAC activists heading into the Washington Times presidential preference straw poll.

Jean Carlton, a 71-year-old from South Carolina, said that Mr. Carson’s lack of political experience is a plus and that he is the total package because he will not bend on his conservative principles and can unite the party.

“I love Ted Cruz, I love Rand Paul, but Ben Carson is all of the above,” Ms. Carlton said.

Mr. Carson whipped the crowd into a frenzy on Saturday when he said he believes that marriage is between one man and one woman and when he pushed back against those who knocked him for saying that Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery.

“I am not a fan of political correctness - I hate political correctness,” he said.

Alice Stewart, who ran former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign, said that Mr. Carson could be a force to be reckoned with in the 2016 election.

“He is a kind of person that you’d be a fool to underestimate if he sets his mind to something,” Mrs. Stewart said.

Mr. Carson also dashed his speech with a hint of populism, directly addressing 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s infamous comments during the campaign that about half the country would vote for President Obama no matter what because of their dependence or over-reliance on government.

“I used to belong to the 47 percent,” Mr. Carson said. “I belong to the five percent; I belong to the one percent.”

But he’s had to make his way up there, he added.

“And I know that there are a lot of people in that 47 percent who are decent, hard-working Americans who want to realize the American Dream,” he said.

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