Carson talks illegal immigration, political correctness at Politics and Eggs in Bedford

Last modified: 7/14/2015 6:13:25 PM
In the midst of continuing controversy over Donald Trump’s remarks on illegal immigration, fellow Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson urged people to focus on the larger issue rather than the words that were used.

People “have become timid, and afraid to express themselves because if you express yourself and your opinion is different than what the mainstream has put out, you’re some kind of a bad person – a racist, a bigot, a homophobe – you’re something, you’re anti-woman,” he said.

Carson, a noted neurosurgeon and bestselling author, said political correctness has deteriorated American values and sent the country in a downward spiral.

“All this stuff about Trump, you know, what we really should be talking about is how do we solve the illegal immigration problem, not the words that Donald Trump used, which were perhaps a little inflammatory,” Carson said. “I learned that several months ago to tone my rhetoric down, so that people could actually hear what I am saying because there are some people who they just focus on the word and can’t hear a word you’re saying.”

A day after celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary with his wife, Candy, at an event in Nashua, Carson continued his swing through New Hampshire with an appearance at the Politics and Eggs speaker series in Bedford on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday morning, he’s expected to stop in to the Corner View Restaurant in Concord.

Carson said that to solve the illegal immigration problem, he would first secure all American borders, and then offer a guest worker program for illegal immigrants already living and working in the country. He said proposed solutions such as building a fence or wall are “old-school” and would not solve the real problem.

Carson infused his speech with medical rhetoric, highlighting his unique background in a crowded Republican primary field.

“People have asked me on many occasions, after such a long and illustrious medical career, why would you want to get into politics,” Carson said. “And my answer is I don’t want to get into politics, but I do want to do something to heal this country.”

“The nice thing about medicine is data actually means something, and people actually do things based on evidence,” Carson said later in his speech. “Unfortunately, that doesn’t work in politics. People really don’t care what the data shows, they just sort of double down on their issues.”

Carson also dedicated a significant portion of his roughly half-hour speech to detailing his views on the health care system. Carson said he is a “strenuous opponent” of the Affordable Care Act, and instead supports individual health savings accounts for all Americans. Carson said his health care plan would use the same money currently used to fund the system, and each account would be able to be passed down after death.

“And the interesting thing is we give people the ability to shift money in their health savings account within their family,” Carson said of his health care plan. “So, let’s say dad is $500 short for a special scan. His wife can give it to him, his sister, his uncle, his grandfather – anybody in the family. It makes every family essentially their own insurance company. It gives you enormous flexibility to cover virtually anything that goes on. It also makes you concerned about one another. If Uncle Joe is smoking like a chimney, then everyone is going to say, ‘Uncle Joe, put that cigarette down because it’s affecting all of us.’ ”

Carson also spoke on the divisiveness he has seen enter American society, which along with “incredible fiscal irresponsibility,” pose serious threats to the country, he said. After his prepared speech, Carson took questions from the audience of about 100 people for 20 minutes on topics including Social Security, access to higher education and energy independence.

Some in the crowd, which was composed mostly of people affiliated with the event’s sponsors, said they were impressed with Carson, and in a packed Republican field, his non-political voice could help him win the nomination.

“I haven’t decided quite yet what I think about all the candidates, but he’s definitely an interesting one for sure – very intelligent, and he had a lot to say,” said Jordan Marietta, who came from Massachusetts for the event. “I thought his ideas about health care were very interesting. I think it’s a broken system that we’ve had a hard time fixing. So interesting idea on that one. I’ve never heard anything like that before.”

(Jack Rooney can be reached at 369-3302 or or on Twitter 

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