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Ben Carson

Never elected to any political office, Dr. Ben Carson is a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and best selling author. His outsider appeal, soft-spoken tone, and Christian conservative philosophy has won him a loyal following in the Republican primary. Having said that, in recent debates Carson has stumbled on foreign policy issues, which has eroded some of his support.

Carson grew up in a poor single-parent household in Detroit, Michigan. At some point during his teenage years he reportedly managed to get his temper in check and began to appreciate reading. A lifelong thirst for knowledge and learning ensued.

After graduation from high school, Carson worked as an X-ray technician, a bank teller, a school bus driver, a supervisor for highway cleanup crews, and a crane operator in a steel factory, before being accepted into The University of Michigan School of Medicine. After graduating from medical school he married his wife, Candy, and moved to Baltimore for a residency at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center, where he would spend the majority of his professional career.

In 2001, Dr. Carson was named by CNN and TIME Magazine as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists. That same year, he was selected by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “Living Legends.” He is also the recipient of the 2006 Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP. In June 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bush, the highest civilian honor in the land.

Some of Dr. Carson’s career highlights include the first successful separation of craniopagus (Siamese) twins joined at the back of the head in 1987, the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa, and the first successful placement of an intrauterine shunt for a hydrocephalic twin.

On the issues

As a renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson should well be familiar with issues of innovation and technology, although his views on patents, intellectual property and innovation in particular are not well known.

As you might expect with Carson being a Christian conservative and physician, two of his main issues are the sanctity of life (i.e., anti-abortion) and healthcare reform (i.e., repealing Obamacare). Carson is also in support of a balanced budget amendment, keeping Gitmo open, having strong relations with Israel, protecting Second Amendment rights and enacting a better, more streamlined tax code. His campaign website says little or nothing about the economy other than a nebulous statement that we “need wholesale tax reform.”