Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said on Feb. 20 that President Obama was "raised white," and defended his comments by accusing others of focusing too much on race (video below).
Carson said during an interview with POLITICO:
Like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when [Obama] was elected, but I also recognize that his experience and my experience are night and day, he didn’t grow up like I grew up by any stretch of the imagination, not even close...
He’s an "African" American. He was, you know, raised white. Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch.
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Obama lived in Indonesia from October 1967 to mid 1971, a little less than four years.
Before Carson made his definitive statements about President Obama's life, he admitted that his last conversation with the president was at a presidential prayer breakfast (2013) and lasted a matter of seconds.
Carson defended his comments to CNN host Poppy Harlow whom he blamed along with the rest of the "media" and the "PC police" on Feb. 22:
What we were talking about is I said I was proud of fact that the color barrier had been broken, but there's a difference in breaking the color barrier and somebody who has had the typical experience versus somebody who has not. For you and the rest of the media to try to pretend like just because your skin is the same color it means you have all grown up in the same way doesn't make any sense.
I'm pointing that fact out, you're not supposed to point that fact out because it makes people uncomfortable, and therefore the PC police come down on you. But I will fight them tooth and nail on this. And I will tell you that anybody who is sensible knows that the way he was brought up is very different from the way most black people in this country are brought up.
However, Carson didn't just say Obama was brought up differently, but told POLITICO that Obama was "raised white."
Carson went on to tell Harlow: "I believe all the emphasis on race is way overblown and I think this conversation is contributing to it."