In a move that surprised very few people, but still left the crowd at Friday’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) moaning with dismay, Ben Carson announced his withdrawal from the 2016 race for President.
“I am leaving the campaign trail,” Carson said, before promising to stay involved, primarily in order to encourage religious voters to turn out.
“God also acts through us,” Carson said. “I know President Obama said we’re not a Judeo-Christian nation. But he doesn’t get to decide; we get to decide what kind of a nation we are.”
Carson declined to give an endorsement, but laid out a series of fairly ambiguous criteria as to who should earn the audience’s vote for President.”
“You need someone who has demonstrated significant accomplishment in their lives,” said Carson. “You also need somebody whose ideas and policies are clear and easy to find. You need to look at how they treat others and how they treat their family, because that’s how they’re going to treat the American people. We need to see what have they done for America? Someone who’s going to lead this nation should have demonstrated at some point that they are trying to improve life for people in America. We should also look at the people they work with. Who are those people? What do those people have to say? And how have they been able to collaborate with people to get things done? Also somebody who’s ethical, because what we need in America right now is trickle down ethics.”
Carson also appealed to conservatives to defend the free market system more aggressively. “Conservatives should not be ashamed of capitalism. We’ve had those who’ve tried to make it sound like a bad word. It’s not a bad word. It’s produced the highest standard of living that anyone’s ever known. What we have to do as conservatives is make sure that we couple capitalism with compassion.”
Carson also said he would prefer not to have a brokered convention, but was open to the idea. “The only thing that I would really have a problem with is if somebody starts changing the rules.”
Carson also slammed people who planned on not staying home. “If you don’t vote, you are voting. But you are voting for the other side.”