Dr. Ben Carson defended President Barack Obama Sunday against criticism that he was too inexperienced to be president. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Carson went on to suggest that certain scientific ideas, like evolution, are “just propaganda.”
The retired surgeon and possible long-shot for the Republican presidential nomination challenged the familiar Republican critique that Obama was too inexperienced to lead the country when he was elected. “I’m not sure that the criticism of President Obama is accurate,” Carson said, adding that the president “wanted to accomplish fundamental change in America, [and] I think he’s done quite a bit of that and he seems to know how to execute these missions.”
The praise for Obama was clearly tactical: Carson has never run for elected office, which makes him vulnerable to similar criticisms. But a lack of experience hasn’t stopped Carson from making inroads into the national political landscape, emerging in recent years as a conservative darling of the GOP. On Saturday, Carson received 11.4 percent of the vote in a straw poll at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, placing fourth overall and besting former Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, the presumed 2016 frontrunner, by more than 3 points.
“If I were to run [for president] and were to win, I would have very different vision” than Obama, Carson said Sunday. “It would be a vision of putting the Constitution back on the top shelf. It would be a vision of making our government understand that it works for the people. And that the government responds to the will of the people, and not picking and choosing who should win and lose, what laws we want to enforce.” Carson added that “our laws that we enforce have nothing to do with our own personal beliefs.”
Carson also defended his belief in creationism, telling host Chuck Todd, “I find a very good measure of correlation between my religious beliefs and my scientific beliefs. People say, ‘How can you be a scientist, how can you be a surgeon if you don’t believe in certain things?’ Maybe those things aren’t scientific, maybe it is just propaganda.”
Despite a career in medicine, Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist, is an outspoken creationist who openly questions evolutionary theory. He also denies that climate change is real, a view that puts him at odds with the vast majority of the scientific community.