A day after firing up conservatives and hinting at his own political aspirations at a conference in Prince George's County, Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson kept his distance from the Republican Party during a national television appearance Sunday, arguing his message should appeal to Democrats as well.
Carson, who is not enrolled in a party in Maryland, placed seventh in a presidential straw poll during this weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. He received a standing ovation during his address when he noted he would soon be retiring from Johns Hopkins Hospital, leaving him free to pursue "so many more things that can be done."
"What I've been talking about, if you distill it, it's not really right stuff or left stuff it's logical stuff," he said. "I think a lot of Democrats are just as interested in harmony and progress as Republicans are."
Asked by host Candy Crowley whether he considers himself a Republican, Carson noted he is an independent. Asked whether he generally leans Republican, Carson said: "If I were asked to come to a Democratic convention and to give my views, I would be happy to."
Carson, who became a sensation in national conservative circles after giving the keynote address at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, said Republicans lost the 2012 presidential race in part because of systemic problems with how elections are carried out.
"I don’t think [Republicans] were able to connect with the people to create the level of enthusiasm that was necessary," Carson said. "I think a lot of the problem is a systemic problem. Because I think the way that we elect presidents is not good. A lot of people who live in blue states say, 'what's the point of me voting?' A lot of people who live in red states, say 'what’s the point of me voting?'…We need to reexamine that situation."