- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, acknowledging recent missteps on the campaign trail, says he still has a lot to learn about being a better presidential candidate, acknowledging a significant learning curve in terms of developing an ability to communicate to a broad cross section of the American people.

“We knew that certain issues we felt strongly about — faith, family and the role of government — might seem controversial when exposed to the 24/7, 365-days-a-year spin cycle that drives American media these days,” Mr. Carson, a former Washington Times columnist, wrote in a new opinion piece in The Times. “It would have been easier perhaps to have spent some time in politician school taking spin classes, so to speak.”

Asked in a recent interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo if being gay was a choice, Mr. Carson replied “absolutely.”

“Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay,” Mr. Carson said. “So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”

He later apologized for the remarks, but they drew attention from people ranging from Vice President Joseph R. Biden to former Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who is gay. Mr. Frank said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Mr. Carson is apparently a first-rate surgeon, “but when it comes to something this basic about human nature,” he is “abysmally ignorant.”

Mr. Carson, who has formed a presidential exploratory committee, also appeared to confuse whether the Baltic states were members of NATO in a recent interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt.

“My basic framework on foreign policy … is to meet our various treaty obligations head-on, and send a clear message to our allies that we stand ready to defend them,” he wrote. “Although I have visited the Baltic Rim and more than 57 other countries around the world, I am still in the stage of rapidly learning intricacies of global politics. And those dynamics themselves are changing at an ever-increasing pace.”

Mr. Carson went on to say that being able to choose trusted and capable thought leaders on foreign affairs and other matters and rely on them to inform critical decisions is more important to a president’s job than “to regurgitate minutiae.”

“Though the learning curve is steep, I am doing everything I can to acquire more knowledge of critical issues and surround myself with capable and wise advisers as I consider this monumental step,” he wrote.

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