Ben Carson tells real story of prayer breakfast in new book; White House wanted an apology

Talk about touchy.

Antsy sycophants in the Obama White House wanted Dr. Ben Carson to apologize for his celebrated speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, apparently afraid Carson’s candor would offend President Obama himself.

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Photo: Baptist.org

Recalling the episode in his new book, “One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future,” Carson writes that the repercussions from the speech started almost immediately, even though Obama seemed to have taken it in stride.

“He did not appear to be hostile or angry,” Carson writes, according to the Daily Caller, which reviewed an advance copy.

“But within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him. I said that I did not think that he was offended and that I didn’t think that such a call was warranted.”

Carson’s speech (excerpted here and well worth the read) made the already famous neurosurgeon a conservative star, and his conservative message upstaged by a long shot whatever it was the president might have said that day. (If you have that transcript, you can keep that transcript.)

It’s a straightforward conservative message of belief in America and belief in Americans, heavy on themes of personal responsibility and the importance of education, light on policy prescriptions (health care takes up three paragraphs of a 27-minute speech.)

White House sharpies weren’t the only ones put off by the speech. Conservative columnist Cal Thomas, for instance, wrote at the time it was inappropriate to mix politics with religion said prayer breakfast organizers were upset by Carson’s tone. He also said Carson should apologize.

That’s fine. But Cal Thomas is an opinion columnist – he isn’t the White House.

The speech made Carson’s political ambitions a hot topic – a Wall Street Journal editorial covered it under the headline “Ben Carson for President” – but Carson’s book indicates a major candidacy isn’t in the cards.

“I suspect that there are many others who think logically and are interested in a political future who might be better candidates than myself,” he writes, according to the Daily Caller. “Nonetheless, if I felt called by God to officially enter the world of politics, I certainly would not hesitate to do so.”

Either way, he has nothing to apologize for.

If you haven’t seen the speech yet, check it out here.

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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