Republican presidential candidate and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson explained in a Thursday interview that he used to be a "flaming liberal" until he noticed how many able individuals were relying on the government to live their lives.
In a sit-down video interview that was published by the The Daily Signal on Thursday, the 63-year-old Carson was asked by Heritage Foundation senior fellow Genevieve Wood to explain why liberals think the way they do.
"You are a neurosurgeon … how do you explain the liberal brain? How does that work?" Wood asked.
Carson responded by explaining that he was a liberal throughout much of his younger years, as he grew up and lived in numerous liberal hotbeds.
"Well, I used to have one of them … I used to be a flaming liberal," Carson asserted. "I grew up in Detroit — a liberal stronghold. I went to Yale University — a liberal bastion. I came back and lived in Baltimore after being in Ann Arbor [Michigan] — another liberal bastion."
"I probably would have continued to drink the liberal Kool-Aid except that I started seeing so many people in my practice who were dependent upon the government, who were able-bodied people," Carson added. "I said, 'What in the world is going on here?'"
Carson explained that he could very well still be a liberal to this day if it were not for Ronald Reagan changing how the doctor personally viewed conservatives and their arguments.
"And, I started listening to Ronald Reagan, which was a no-no because as a liberal you can't possibly listen to anything a Republican has to say," Carson explained. "We were told that they were racist, horrible, bigoted people, that you should steer clear of them. I started listening to what he was saying and he didn't sound like any of the things that they were saying. He sounded like a logical person and my mind changed."
"So, it wasn't a diseased brain, it was just a brain that had been fed the wrong material and you can probably reprogram it, and that is the good thing," Carson continued.
Carson went on to say that the issues that he tends to speak on are not tied to a partisan agenda but are rather connected to the idea of the "American dream."
"The things that I talk about, if you listen to them carefully, they are not really Republican or Democrat things. They are American things," Carson said. "Have you ever noticed that there is something called the American dream? Is there anything called the English dream or the French dream or the Nigerian dream or the Brazilian dream? No, there isn't. There is only an American dream and if you don't abide by the principles that made us who we are you are un-American.
"Can you be un-French or un-Portuguese or un-Spanish?" Carson asked. "No, there is something very special about this country and we should cherish and we should develop it."
According to the Real Clear Politics average of Republican presidential nomination polling, Carson sits in sixth place with an average of 6.2 percent of the vote, ahead of candidates like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-K.y. Meanwhile, celebrity billionaire Donald Trump leads the competition with 20.8 percent of the vote.
Next week's Fox News debate will allow the top 10 polling Republican presidential candidates to participate. Carson will likely be included in that Thursday Cleveland debate, while candidates like Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie all appear to be battling for the final spot.
In the interview with Wood, Carson was asked to detail the issues that are most important to him. He answered that the partisan divide and fiscal irresponsibility in the United States are threats to the nation's stability.
"Our divisiveness is a huge issue and threatens to destroy us and I think that there are those who actually stoke the fires of the division," Carson said. "I think our fiscal irresponsibility is unbelievable really. No one can live through this type of irresponsibility for very long and we think we are doing OK. But I guarantee you that if Greece can print money, they would think they were OK too but they wouldn't be."