Saving America: Dr. Benjamin Carson's fight for real change

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 15, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to the special audience edition of "Hannity."

And tonight, for the entire hour, I will be joined by somebody who had the Internet buzzing following his remarks at last week's National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Benjamin Carson is one of the most accomplished physicians in the entire world. But despite his many accolades, which include being awarded the presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008, he was an unknown quantity to many Americans.

That is, until he stepped up to the podium last Thursday morning, and with the president of the United States sitting just steps away, Dr. Carson eloquently and politely described his vision for saving America. Among the topics that he covered, the parallels of political correctness, education, the health care system and much more. Let's take look at a quick preview.


DR. BENJAMIN CARSON, SPOKE AT NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST: One last thing about political correctness, which I think is a horrible thing, by the way. I'm very, very compassionate, and I'm not ever out to offend anyone, but PC is dangerous. Because you see, this country, one of the founding principles was freedom of thought and freedom of expression, and it muffles people. It puts a muzzle on them.

Why is it so important that we educate our people? Because we don't want to go down the same pathway as many other pinnacle nations who have preceded us. I think particularly about ancient Rome. Very powerful. Nobody could even challenge them militarily. But what happened to them? They destroyed themselves from within. Moral decay. Fiscal irresponsibility. They destroyed themselves. And if you don't think that can happen to America, you get out your books and you start reading.


HANNITY: Now, we are going to have much more of the doctor's speech as we continue tonight. But not surprisingly, whenever somebody has the courage to speak truth to power, particularly when it involves the president, he or she quickly becomes a bit of a political lightning rod. Now, that familiar phenomenon happened in the aftermath of Dr. Carson's comments with some pundits describing his action as quote, "disrespectful."

Now, tonight, he will have the opportunity to respond to those critics. We'll also hear from the doctor on how we can turn around the economy, restore credibility to our health care system. Also, Frank Luntz tonight will stop by with the focus group of voters who actually dialed Dr. Carson's speech. Now, do they think he may have a shot sometime at the future at the White House? Well, that surprising answer lies ahead.

But before we get into all of that, it's time to meet the man himself. We welcome, author of "America the Beautiful," and the director or pediatric neurosurgery at John Hopkins University, Dr. Benjamin Carson. It's an honor to have you. Welcome aboard.

CARSON: Thank you. Good to be here.


HANNITY: Doctor, you have gone viral. Maybe not something you predicted in your life?

CARSON: Yes. Yes, usually in medicine when we think of viruses it's not a good thing. But this one turned out to be very good because I have been just overwhelmed by the responses. So many people are just overjoyed to hear some common sense. And I don't think that I put forth anything that is that intellectually challenging, it's just that it's so much better than most of what we are hearing from Washington. But it seems like, you know, a great revelation.

And you know, the important thing I think is to begin the dialogue. You know, some people say, you know, you can't say something like that in front of the president. When did this become a monarchy? You know, we are the people. The president works for us. And you know, we need to remember that. You know, this is a country that is for of and by the people, not for of and by the government. And that is the big battle that we are in right now. We need to make a decision with our eyes open, which country do we want to be?

HANNITY: It's interesting because you made the comparison of ancient Rome, and you said this could happen to America, is that something you fear?

CARSON: I definitely fear it because we are in very much the same position that they were in. So powerful, a pinnacle nation in the world, no competition, going to be there forever, so they thought, and then all the military expansionism started and capturing this group and this group. Of course, that requires a lot of resources when you capture people to keep them under control and they quickly began to run out of money.

And then they are looking for any kind of scheme to get money from the people, and the rich people, they have a lot of money so let's come up with some schemes to get their money. And of course, that erodes another aspect of confidence and creativity within your society and they just continued right down the path of destruction.

HANNITY: And that could happen here?

CARSON: It's in the process of happening. The real question is, are we smart enough to stop it? Can we actually learn from those who have gone before us or must we (INAUDIBLE) go down the same path as all those people who've preceded us and done the same thing?

HANNITY: Let's hope not. You actually used the phrase on my buddy Neil Cavuto's show, you said, somebody has got to stand up to these bullies. Define the bullies that you are talking about.

CARSON: Well, the bullies I'm talking about are the PC police. And, you know, they come in many shapes and forms. And certainly a lot of them in your business.


HANNITY: I'm very well aware of them.

CARSON: The media who try to define what you are supposed to think. And unfortunately, I think it's the very thing that our founders were talking about when they said it's so important, and our system of government is based upon a well-informed populous, because if they are not well-informed they are very easy to manipulate. And all you have to do is look at some of those Jay Leno segments where they go to the man on the streets --

HANNITY: Jaywalking.



HANNITY: This is amazing to me, your background. Your mom was married at 13.


HANNITY: One of 24 children.


HANNITY: And you were a trouble maker.

CARSON: I was perhaps the worst student you have ever seen. You know, I thought I was stupid, all my classmates thought I was stupid, so there was general agreement.

HANNITY: But that was in fifth grade.

CARSON: That was in fifth grade. And you know, fortunately for me my mother believed in me when no one else did. And she just said Benjamin, you are much too smart to be bringing home grades like this. I brought them home anyway. But she was always saying that and one day she just came home after being at work and being inspired by looking at all the books that her employers were reading, and she said you guys are going to read books and you are going to stop watching so much television.

And she made a prediction which is really quite uncanny, she said if you start reading books, one day people will be looking at you on television. Hi, everybody.


HANNITY: Very well-said. But it was even deeper than that. She had a third grade education herself.


HANNITY: And you made a comment in that speech that she would look over your reports. You had to write a book report.

CARSON: Right. She said we had to -- we had to read two books a piece and submit to her written book reports which she couldn't read but we didn't know that. She would a little checkmarks and highlights and we would think that she was reading them, but she wasn't. But I hated it so much because everybody else was outside playing and having a good time. My brother and I were stuck in the house reading these books.

But after a while, I actually began to enjoy reading the books. Because even though we were desperately poor between the covers of those books I could go anywhere, I could be anybody, I could do anything, and I began to read about amazing people. I read about Booker T. Washington. His autobiography called "Up from Slavery." He was a slave and it was illegal for slaves to read. And that right there is a topic in and of itself that a lot of young people should be thinking about why was it illegal for slaves to read? Because the slave owners knew that if they could read, they could liberate themselves. And the same thing goes today. Those young people who are not availing themselves of the educational opportunities are intentionally slaving themselves.

HANNITY: The Latin phrase for education, to bring forth from within, it predisposes all these kids were born with their talent. That's their gift.

CARSON: Absolutely.

HANNITY: You had a particular talent, too, in school where you could push people's buttons. I read a commencement address you gave in 2007. That was a particularly good talent of yours.

CARSON: It was. You know, I would study my classmates to figure out what made them really, really angry. Because, you know, they were always calling me dummy, so this is the way I would get back at them and I would figure it out what made them angry and I just irritate them and irritate them until they were about to explode but I would never push the last button until we were in the classroom and the teacher was nearby.

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