That’s a very good question because what in fact is going on in the world right now is quite different than what was going on before. You know in 2003, for instance, when we invaded Iraq and al-Qaeda was a big deal, there were many people who weren’t totally on board with that because they didn’t see where that was a significant threat to our national security and, you know, I could be one of those people because I wasn’t very enthusiastic about that. However, we are facing now a completely different situation. We have radical Islamic jihadist who want to destroy us and they want to destroy our way of life and their existence is a threat to us and we cannot be in that mindset that says oh we made a mistake and we spent a bunch of money and we caused a lot a strife, so therefore, let’s just, you know, get into our little cocoon and that’s a problem for somebody else. That’s not gonna work. The fact of the matter is, they want to destroy us and we have two choices. We can sit here, ignore them, bomb the desert, and, and think that we’re doing something, or we can destroy them first, and I choose the latter, and what I would do, what I would do is use every resource available to us. You know, I think that our offensive capabilities and defensive capabilities, militarily, are good. They have been degraded because they’ve been neglected but they’re still extremely good...
Frank Luntz: Where do you send ground troops?
I would send group troops, if I needed ground troops in order to take the land.
Frank Luntz: You have an, but you have an idea what the threat is. You defined it.
Frank Luntz: Are, is it a likelihood that ground troops would be necessary to succeed?
I think it is a, a strong likelihood. The reason being, in order for them to develop their caliphate they need land, and if we really want to break their backs, we take the land. You’re not gonna take the land without troops. You know, we made this mistake in Vietnam. You know, we would go in, we would clear out the Viet Cong, we would declare victory, we would leave, and they would come right back. That doesn’t do any good, and of course the reason that we’re, that ISIS, arose, is because we vacated Iraq after we had secured the victory there.
Frank Luntz: So people who are signing up today for the military, the next President should under this, should tell them, that you may be sent to the Middle East, and be on the ground, American troops on the ground, to fight ISIS.
I think they should know that. They should also know that we’re gonna use every other mechanism available to us, including economic sanctions, that we’re going to take land, including their oil wells and including anything that they use to finance themselves, and when that person is enlisting we also ought to tell them that we are gonna have resources in place to take care of them, because 22 to 23 veterans commit suicide every day in America and that’s the tip of the iceberg and we’re giving them some aid but that should start when they enlist, we should have a support system as they go through, and a year before they’re discharged, we should have placement people ready to transition them into society.
Frank Luntz: I had not thought of asking this question, and I don’t know how to do it in a way, and I, you’ve been asked it before and I wanna do it in the way that, is not only respectful but appreciative. It’s very easy for many of the people in this room to call themselves conservative, but if you look around this room, there aren’t many people of color, and if you look around the room of conservatives in the northeast, California, there aren’t many people of color. Why are you here? And I mean that in the, in the deepest...
Frank Luntz: Spiritual way. Why did you choose to be in this room and not in Cedar Rapids last night?
Okay. Well I can tell you. I grew up in Detroit. Strong Democratic stronghold. Went to Yale University. Very liberal place. Came back, Baltimore, Maryland, one of the bluest states possible, but early on during my career, I started noticing that there were a lot of people, particularly a lot of people of color, who were coming in with Social Services, their lives were going nowhere, and they were perfectly capable individuals, and recognizing what the system was doing to them, and then I started listening to Ronald Reagan because I had been always told that Republicans were horrible, mean, racist people, and that you should never have anything to do with them, and I started listening to him, I said, he doesn’t sound like that. He actually sounds like somebody with common sense, and that, that really, you know, started the transition, and, and there are a lot of people who have been fed the propaganda, just the way I was fed the propaganda, so I don’t blame them for being there because they haven’t had the experience that I’ve had, but, I think there’s a lot of people who are waking up. You know, I met with a group of, of black pastors yesterday. People are waking up in droves, and recognizing what, I think they’re starting to recognize what’s been happening here because, you know, you start out in, in the 1960s. Lindon Johnson’s War on Poverty and a great new society and how we’re gonna eradicate poverty. Have we done it? We’ve spent $19 trillion since then but we have ten times more people on food stamps, more people on welfare, more out of wedlock births, more incarceration, crime. Everything that was supposed to be better, is not only worse, it’s much worse. So I don’t wanna demonize the people who started those programs, but we do have brains, and brains tell you that when something isn’t working you look at a different way to get it done.
Frank Luntz: Now if you’ve got a question for Ben Carson line up because I’m gonna go to that. One last question. I’m someone who focuses on language. You’ve called them black pastors. Not African American pastors. Why did you use the word black rather than African American?
I don’t have any problem with anybody using African American, but, you know, when you go to the museum on Ellis Island, and you look at all those pictures on the wall, people who came here from every place in the world, many of them with only the things that they could carry, people who work not eight hours a day but 10 12 hours a day, people who work not five days a week but six or seven days a week, not for themselves but for their sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters that they might have freedom and prosperity in this land, hundreds of years before that other immigrants came here in the bottom of slave ships worked even longer even harder for less, but they had a dream too, that their great-grandsons and great-granddaughter might pursue freedom in this land, of all the places in the world, this one, The United States of America was the only one big enough and great enough to allow all those people from all the backgrounds to realize their dreams, and that means that every single one of us, is relevant to every single one of us. There is something known as America and the American dream and the American psyche and it is known all over the world and it has nothing to do with where your ancestors came from. It has everything to do with who we are today.
Frank Luntz: We’re gonna go to the back. Microphone four please.
Unidentified Female: New York Representative Michael Grimm recently was sent to prison for tax evasion, but representative Al, I guess Al Sharpton is still walking free.
Frank Luntz: Well thank God he’s not a Representative so.
Unidentified Female: Yes exactly. Thank you. As, what would a President do to address the issue of corruption and fraud that is going on in Washington, D.C.?
Okay. Well, you know, it is a very corrupt place. You know, I’ve lift the, the hood of the engine that runs Washington to take a look, and your immediate response is to shut it back down, I mean, it is, it’s, it’s pretty horrible but there’s a lot of interrelationships and historical things that are going on in there, it is amazing to me the relationships that exists between different people, and some people have said to me, you couldn’t possibly function in that environment because you don’t know all the intricacies of Washington, D.C. I'll tell you what I do know. I do know The Constitution of the United States and I know how things were supposed to run, and, and what I would, what I would do is obviously get some people who do understand all of that garbage, so that, so that they can help disassemble it, and, you know, I’ve spent decades in the private sector in corporate America sitting on boards, national, international corporations, and finding out and figuring out and learning how things that work efficiently, work. The United States government is not one of those things. However we can change that and we can make it run like a business and I think that is very important because American people deserve to have their money spent the right way.
Frank Luntz: You’ve got the row of journalists sitting right in front of you, three rows. What would you cut? Everyone says spend the money the right way. What would be the two or three programs you would cut? If...
Frank Luntz: Let’s, I’m gonna rephrase that...
What, what, what would a person cut?
Frank Luntz: Thank you...
Who was in such a situation. Well...
Frank Luntz: Please. I am not gonna get myself sued when this is done.
Hey. I’m a surgeon, so I know how to cut, but. But, you know, one of the things that has always created conflict in Washington is pet programs and pet projects, and you’re always gonna into an issue if you say, I’m cutting this but not this. Therefore, I would propose an across the board cut in everything. You do it incrementally. I’d defy anybody to tell me that there isn’t one percent, two percent, three, five percent, of fat in every single program.
Frank Luntz: Let’s go to microphone two please.
Unidentified Male: Good afternoon Dr. Carson.
Unidentified Male: Do you believe all active members of our military should be armed in order to defend themselves?
Okay well certainly considering what happened in Chattanooga this week, but, even long before that, of course they should be armed. Are you kidding me? I mean that’s. But, you know, it, it, it brings up a larger issue. The military. You know, what is going on? You know, our Navy has the smallest number of, of vessels that we’ve had since 1917, you know, in recent congressional testimony, the Commandant Marine Corps said half of the non-deployed units are not ready. The Air Force. Look at the size of how that shrunk. How we only have one carrier group in the Persian Gulf. We had to move it from where it was supporting the Iraqi efforts over to Yemen not long ago because we don’t have the kind of support that we used to have and soon that’s being removed for several months. What kind of message is that sending to Iran right now at this time. I mean all of this is absolute craziness. Our military is shrinking while our enemies are growing and metastasizing. It seems like we’re trying to destroy ourselves. What is going on? We gotta do better than that.
Frank Luntz: I’ve gotta ask the follow-up question because you said it seems like we’re trying to destroy ourselves. Then, why is this happening in Washington? What is, who is responsible?
Well I, I believe what has happened in Washington, is symptomatic of what’s happened in our country, and that is, we’ve become Republicans and Democrats instead of Americans, and therefore, therefore when stupid things are proposed, you know, we, we get behind the stupid person based on what our party is rather than looking at what’s happening to our nation.
Frank Luntz: I’m not asking you whether you think he’s stupid, but is what President Obama is doing with Iran and with our military, is what he is doing, stupid?
Well, let’s not even talk about him, but let’s talk, let’s, let’s talk about, general principles. When you go into some type of a negotiation like that, there’s certain things that have to be done. You have to be able to verify. Verification is very important and you look at this agreement. Where is it? Accountability. How can you be able to have accountability if you can’t verify and you must be able to enforce. Well if the first two don’t happen you can’t do the last one, you know, which means that, basically, in terms of international negotiation, it’s a wasteland. It’s not going to work. You have to understand the basic principles of negotiation in order to come up with something that actually works. We have not disassembled their nuclear infrastructure. We’re lifting the economic sanctions which will pump tens of billions of dollars into the world’s number one exporter of terrorism and, you know, there’s, there’s yes we, we can demand inspections 24/7 but all that does is starts the process with this four-tier panel that includes Iranians and Russians and by the time they say, okay you can go inspect, they will have moved anything that needs to be moved. The, I mean, I think a third grader could come up with a better negotiation.
Frank Luntz: We’re going again to the back. Microphone four.
Unidentified Male: I was told I couldn’t ask whether or not he had read either your, any of your books or Steve Deace books, but aside from that, I would like to ask, when somebody’s running for, arguably, the most important job in the entire world, what deep down motivates somebody to take on that challenge?
Well, I could only answer that question, for myself. Obviously I can’t answer that for anybody else. Is that permissible...
Frank Luntz: Yes...
In this setting?
Frank Luntz: Yes but, but you’re still speaking of what a President should have or should be thinking about.
Right. First of all, it, it, it was not something that would, was, would be on my bucket list, you know, I had a long, arduous, career in neuro surgery, 15,000 cases, and I was really looking forward to retirement, I must say, but, but that whole career surrounded children and saving their lives and improving the quality of their lives, and when you look out there right now and you see a nation that is being divided on every level, a war on women, racial wars, income wars, age wars, religious wars, “a house divided against itself cannot stand”, Jesus Christ himself said that, you know, and, we’re leaving that to the next generations and that motivates me. It motivates me to see what we’re doing to their financial future. We all hear about the $18.4 trillion national debt and that is a problem. I mean if you try to pay that back at a rate of $10 million a day it’ll take you over five thousand years and we’re putting that on their backs. But it’s worse than that. It’s the fiscal gap, the amount of unfunded liability, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, all the departmental programs, all what we owe going forward projecting, versus, what we can expect to come in, in terms of revenues from taxes and other sources. Those two things should be close together. They’re not. They’re far apart. The big gap right now sits at about $211 trillion. You know, I mentioned that in my announcement speech and the next day a bunch liberal media came out and said, see we told he was crazy, we, he told you he doesn’t know anything about economics, and then the very next day, Forbes came out and said, 17 Nobel Laureates in economics and 12 hundred professors of economics agree with Carson. Well that kind of, you know, that, that settled them down a little bit, but the fact of the matter is, the, this can destroy us and the only reason we can do it is because we’re the reserve currency of the world, we have the ability to print money, we’re doing it inappropriately, our money is not tied to anything, we decoupled it from the gold standard in 1971, it doesn’t have to be the gold standard, but we need to put personal responsibility back into our government as well as in our own lives.
Frank Luntz: So what final thought would you like to leave them with?
Final thought I would like to leave people with, is that, we, the American people, are not each other’s enemies. The real enemies are those people who are trying to make us into enemies. If somebody doesn’t agree with you they’re your mortal enemy. You can call them names, you can try to destroy their livelihood, you can try to destroy their life. Where did that kind of thinking comes from? As far as I’m concerned that is pure unadulterated evil and we should not tolerate that in our society.
Frank Luntz: Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Ben Carson.
You’ve got some good lines. Wow.
Q = Frank Luntz, Unidentified Female, Unidentified Male
A = Ben Carson
U = Unidentified Speaker
(INAUDIBLE) = Areas that could not be heard due to background noise, tape/phone line quality, muffled speaking, etc.