Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson believes many Americans “are stupid.” He had made this comment during a speech in the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in 2014. During the speech (video below), Carson also said that America “would be Cuba if there were no Fox News.”
Carson was addressing a crowd at the presidential library in Yorba Linda, California, on Oct. 19, 2014, when the controversial comments were made, The Huffington Post reports. While his speech has been previously ignored during his presidential campaign, it has been thrust back into the spotlight after several websites published the footage.
During his time at the podium, Carson took swipes at the media. He argued that they often tried to shut him down, “but they can't because the good Lord has provided me with mechanisms like my syndicated column and like Fox News."
"We'd be Cuba if there were no Fox News, I ought to tell you," he added.
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Carson then began talking about an insidious, unnamed group he alleges has taken control of education and the media.
"They can twist and turn things as much as they want. But what they don't understand, and they miscalculated, they were doing a great job in terms of fundamentally changing this nation. In terms of infiltrating the school systems, in terms of infiltrating the media. All of this — they've done a great job. Everything was perfect. Except they underestimated the intelligence of the American people. The people are not as stupid as they think they are. Many of them are stupid. OK. But I'm talking about overall."
On Nov. 6, Carson sat down with CNN to clarify his comments. He said that those he referred to as “stupid” are people “who take the disadvantaged people in our country and say, 'you poor little thing, I’m going to give you everything that you possibly need.’"
Carson added that this method wasn't helping people, citing the Great Society programs of Lyndon Johnson as an example.
“We’ve spent $19 trillion and we have 10 times more people on food stamps, more people in poverty, more broken homes, out of wedlock births, crime, incarceration, everything is not only worse, it’s much worse," he said. "You’d have to be kind of stupid to look at that and not realize that that’s a failure and to say we just didn’t do enough of it.
”That’s what I call stupid."
When asked if his comment about Fox News implies that America would be a communist nation without the network, Carson became irritated, Politico reports.
“No,” Carson said. “Again, there you go with sensationalism.”
Carson is currently leading the list of Republican presidential candidates with 29 percent of voter support, according to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Nov. 4.