NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Dr. Ben Carson, a conservative darling who has built up one of the most devoted followings here at the Conservative Political Action Conference, told an audience on Saturday that it was important to vote for Republican candidates in the 2014 midterms — even if they didn’t support that candidate in the primary.
Before a standing-room-only crowd, the retired neurologist Carson explained his logic using a ship and barnacles metaphor.
“The ship is about to sail off of Niagara Falls and we’re going to be killed,” Carson said in his speech Saturday. “And we have a bunch of people looking over the side of the ship saying ‘There’s barnacles on the side of it. We’ve got to get the barnacles off.’
“Forget about the barnacles. We’ve got to get the ship turned around first.”
Carson said he understood voters’ predicament. Every lawmaker who votes to raise the debt ceiling should be voted out of office, he said. But if that lawmaker happens to be the nominee, things change.
“You can call them a RINO [Republican In Name Only] or a ‘Tea Bagger.’ Just vote for them!” Carson said.
Carson’s speech, which roused an audience full of supporters who held up signs saying, “Run, Ben! Run!,” was unabashedly politically incorrect. He talked about gay marriage, saying gays should get “equal rights” but should not be able to “redefine marriage.”
“I still believe marriage is between one man and one woman,” he said.
He referenced his past comments comparing Obamacare and slavery. “Of course,” he said, Obamacare isn’t as bad as slavery — but it doesn’t mean Obamacare isn’t dangerous.
Carson didn’t give any hint to his plans in 2016. God has a plan for him, he said, but he was not “sure what the culmination of that plan is.”
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