By AT News Team, December 4, 2014:   Dr. Benjamin Carson, recently retired chief of pediatric brain surgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and an active member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, told the Cable News Network (CNN) on Wednesday (December 3) that he would make a decision about running for president of the United States by May 1, 2015. If he does so it will be the first time an Adventist has been a candidate for the nation’s top position.

He has launched an exploratory organization, he stated. He is making campaign appearances in states with early primary elections. He was invited by CNN to do the lengthy interview yesterday because a new poll of Republican Party members ranked him second among 16 top figures considered to be possible candidates.

Mitt Romney who ran as the Republican candidate for president in the last election and lost, but remains a popular figure among conservatives, got 20 percent support with Carson getting the support of 10 percent of the respondents. When Romney’s name was removed from a follow-up question (because he has stated that he will not run again), the top spot went to Jeb Bush, former governor of the state of Florida and the son and brother of two former presidents. Carson still came in with the support of 11 percent of the respondents compared to Bush’s 14 percent.

In the interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Carson refused to withdraw or modify his controversial comparison of the current political situation in the U.S. to Nazi Germany. Carson made the comparison in March during an interview the very conservative online news service and has been criticized for it. He said that “we now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe” and that the Nazi regime of the 1930s was “using its tools to intimidate the population.” Along with many other conservative spokespersons, Carson has criticized “politically correct” expressions and ideas in defense of some of his blunt comments on controversial issues. He again referred to the government “using instruments of government, like the IRS, to punish its opponents.” This refers to widely publicized charges that the tax collection agency of the U.S. government refused to give tax-exempt status as a charity to several conservative public policy and educational organizations.

Carson was also asked about his statement that a government health care program widely labeled “Obamacare” because it was introduced the current U.S. president, Barack Obama, was the “worst thing” that’s happened in the U.S. “since slavery.” When he was asked if the health care reform law was really worse than various crises that have gripped the nation, such as the Great Depression, Carson said that is “not the point. The point of what I’m saying … is a major fundamental shift of power has occurred,” from the people to the government, and “if we continue down that road the United States of America becomes something very different than it was intended to be.”

The U.S. is the only developed country on the globe that does not have a national health care program which provides for all citizens. The law adopted four years ago is designed to take steps to remedy that lack and has been strongly opposed by the most politically conservative Americans. Carson’s unapologetic, outspoken style has contributed to his popularity among Republican Party members.

Carson stated that conservative options to the new law are described on the web site implying that he prefers these alternative policies. When Adventist Today searched the web site, no alternative programs could be found among the documents; only critiques of the new law. Sources have told Adventist Today that what Carson supports is an approach that combines private charity and a major emphasis on preventive health education, concepts that Adventists have long promoted in the U.S. and many places around the world.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC using standard survey research techniques. It included a sample of 1,045 telephone interviews on November 21 through 23. The standard allowance for sampling error in a survey of this size is three percentage points, plus or minus.