The normally unflappable, soft-spoken Dr. Ben Carson, who is also the Republican presidential front-runner in some polls, became more than a little agitated during a Friday morning telephone interview on CNN.
The dust-up began when CNN “New Day” co-host Alisyn Camerota asked the retired neurosurgeon to whom he was referring when he joked that “many” Americans are stupid.
Carson replied that those who keep the disadvantaged dependent on government programs were the truly stupid ones, noting that since the late President Lyndon Johnson’s anti-poverty legislation, poverty has increased.
“So, just to be clear, people who support food stamps or Medicaid or welfare–”
“I didn’t say that, now you’re trying to put words into my mouth,” Carson cut in. “Why don’t you listen to what I just told you?”
“It sounds like what you’re saying are liberals,” she said. “It sounds like what you’re saying–”
“I can’t believe that you used to work on Fox!” Carson interrupted again. “And now you’ve turned into that. I can’t believe it.”
“I’m glad you brought that up, Dr. Carson,” Camerota said, and asked Carson about a statement he’d made that without Fox News, we’d be another Cuba.
“You mean that if Fox News didn’t exist, we would be a communist country?” she asked.
“No. Again, there you go with sensationalism,” he said evenly. “That’s what you try to do. You hope somehow that will resonate with people who don’t think for themselves.”
Camerota tried to cut in at this point, but Carson plowed ahead, intent on making his point.
“I’ve got news for you, people are a lot smarter than you think they are, and they know exactly what I’m talking about.”
“Dr. Carson, you said it!” Camerota said in her defense. “Dr. Carson, I’m quoting — I’m not even quoting you, I’m playing your words. You are the person who said there are a lot of people who are stupid and without Fox News, we would be Cuba.”
“Are you honestly telling me that you didn’t know what I was talking about when I said that? Are you honestly telling me? If you are, you might fit in that category,” he said bluntly.
From that point forward the two fought it out, with Camerota quoting the neurosurgeon, and Carson accusing the host of taking his words out of context.
Watch the exchange, via CNN.
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