Ben Carson talks presidential aspirations in Iowa


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CEDAR RAPIDS — In the middle of a two-day tour of eastern Iowa, Ben Carson told a crowded room on Monday morning that he’s going to let the people decide if he should run for president.

“If people indicate that they’re ready for a country that is for, of, and by the people, I’ll be all in, and if they indicate they want government to control every aspect of their life, I’ll go do something else,” Carson told The Daily Iowan during a campaign event for U.S. House hopeful Rod Blum.

Carson was in Cedar Rapids to stump for Blum, the GOP candidate for Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. There, the retired neurosurgeon stressed the importance of personal responsibility in politics.

“This is one of the most critical periods in our history as a nation because what we have right now is a dysfunctional system in Washington,” Carson said.

He has never been elected to office or held a government position, but there are some pockets of the Republican Party pressing for him to consider running for president. He is not, however, a registered Republican and at one time was a Democrat.

During a previous stop in Des Moines a day earlier, Carson won the Polk County “Summer Sizzle & Straw Poll” with 62 percent of the vote.

Though one expert was wary about how the results of those kinds of polls should be viewed.
Justin Holmes, an assistant professor of political science at University of Northern Iowa, said straw polls are often unreliable because of the small sample sizes that often lean toward extremes.

Holmes said one of Carson’s largest liabilities if he were to decide to run would be his lack of experience in public service.

“I think that’s a huge problem,” he said. “It’s one thing to be a smart guy, and it’s another to be somebody who has a record.”

Looking toward 2016, Holmes said Carson might have a better chance in Iowa than any other state because Iowa Republican caucus goers tend to be more conservative. However, even voters who agree with him on the issues may realize on a national stage he may be too conservative to win in a general election.

Carson’s stop in Cedar Rapids came in between his planned Iowa stops to promote his book One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future.

The roughly 270 people in attendance of the event said Carson has the right ideas for the country.

“I think he makes a lot of sense and makes what we feel is so complicated sound doable and easy,” said Julie Beimer of Mount Vernon, Iowa. “I really like his confidence and the way he comes across.”

Carson also campaigned for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District Republican candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks at the Care Center for Active Seniors in Davenport.

Blum said he appreciates Carson’s endorsement because he thinks the doctor has appeal across parties, and he shares Carson’s belief in people.

“I’m a person who believes in people more than in the power of government, “ Blum said.

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