Ben Carson Tells Donald Trump ‘I Have Plenty of Energy’

Updated on
  • Recalls misspent youth including stabbing attempt at age 14
  • Would `love to see' Roe v. Wade abortion ruling overturned

Ben Carson, newly minted frontrunner for the Iowa Republican presidential caucus, is pushing back against criticism from billionaire Donald Trump that he is “super low energy.”

“I don’t get into the mud pit,” Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “I do have a tendency to be relaxed. I wasn’t always like that. There was a time when I was, you know, very volatile.”

Carson, 64, said that as a teenager he would go after people “with rocks, and bricks, and baseball bats, and hammers.” At age 14, growing up poor in Detroit, he tried to stab a classmate with a camping knife . “Fortunately, you know, my life has been changed. And I’m a very different person now,” said Carson.

Trump, 69, a real estate mogul and reality TV star, has spent several months leading a large pack of Republican hopefuls in opinion polls. Two recent surveys, the Quinnipiac Poll and the Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, showed Trump falling behind Carson in Iowa, where the first ballots of the 2016 presidential race will be cast on Feb. 1. A CBS tracking poll on Sunday showed Trump and Carson tied in Iowa, each holding 27 percent support.

Soft Spoken

Trump said at a rally in Miami on Oct. 23 that he thought the polls that showed him trailing were wrong, and took a shot at the candidate who has supplanted him. “We informed Ben,” Trump told the crowd, “but he was sleeping.”

Carson agreed with a suggestion that people mistake his soft-spoken manner for a lack of energy. “I have plenty of energy,” he said.

One of Carson’s signature achievements as director of pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital was to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head. “In terms of energy, I’m not sure that there’s anybody else running who’s spent 18 or 20 hours intently operating on somebody," he said.

Abortion Ruling

Carson said that he would “love to see” Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision establishing the right to abortion, overturned. And although there is “room to discuss” whether or not abortions should be available if the life and health of the mother is at stake, there should not be an exception made for cases of rape and incest, he said.

“All you have to do is go and look up the many stories of people who have led very useful lives who were the result of rape or incest,” Carson said.

In August, on Fox News Channel, Carson said that women should have access to emergency contraception in the case of rape or incest. “I would hope that they would very quickly avail themselves of the emergency room, and in the emergency room, they have the ability to administer RU-486 and other possibilities before you have a developing fetus,” he said.

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