Ben Carson is riding a wave of frustration with politics as usual. But on Sunday he employed a time-honored tactic of those elected officials: dodging direct answers to specific questions.
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Mr. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon whose popularity is surging in the Republican field, was asked if he stands by his controversial opinion that a Muslim should not be president of the United States.
“Well, first of all, you know, what I said is on a transcript and it’s there for anybody,” he replied, avoiding the question of whether he stood by the remark.
The host of the show, Martha Raddatz, interrupted: “I’m reading the transcript, Dr. Carson, that’s exactly what you said.”
In his original remark, made last Sunday on “Meet the Press” when he was asked about the relevance of a president’s faith, Mr. Carson said: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Ms. Raddatz tried a different line of questioning. Does Mr. Carson “assume that all Muslims embrace Sharia law?”
Mr. Carson preferred to pose his own question, which he then answered. “Well, let’s — what we should be talking about,” he said, “is Islam and the tenets of Islam and where do they come from?”
He added, “They come from Sharia. They come from the Quran. They come from, you know, the life works and examples of Muhammad. They come from the fatwas, which is the writings of scholars.”
Mr. Carson expanded on his interest in Islam. “What I would like for somebody to show me is an improved Islamic text that opposes Sharia. Let me see — if you can show me that, I will begin to alter my thinking on this.
“Right now, when you have something that is against the rights of women, against the rights of gays, subjugates other religions, and a host of things that are not compatible with our Constitution, why in fact would you take that chance?”
Ms. Raddatz moved on to a different topic.
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