Ben Carson on why he switched to the Republican Party

CPAC speaker shares his views


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 26, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, ANCHOR: Welcome back to "Hannity." And of course the road to 2016, we are broadcasting live tonight from CPAC. And earlier we spoke with Dr. Benjamin Carson, and here's that interview.


HANNITY: As I was doing the preparation for this interview, I learned something I didn't know about you before. And I'm going to quote you. "I was a rabid Democrat when I went off to Yale."

DR. BEN CARSON, AUTHOR, "YOU HAVE A BRAIN": Absolutely. Well, you know, I grew up in Detroit. I grew up in an environment where you were supposed to be Democrat, where they told you that Republicans were evil people and that they were racist. And, you know, later on I started listening to Ronald Reagan, and I said, he doesn't sound like an evil person. He doesn't sound racist. What he's saying makes absolutely perfect sense.

And then I coupled that with seeing these patients coming in, almost all of them on some kind of medical assistance and on social welfare programs, and their lives were in shambles. And I started making the correlation, in addition to listening to what he was saying. And then I see people who came from the same environment who were doing perfectly fine. But, they were people who grasped the significance of personal responsibility and hard work. And I realized that one system was pushing people toward failure under the guise of compassion.

HANNITY: Conservatives like myself have been disappointed in the Republican Party for a lot of reasons. There have been how many votes to repeal health care, but then when it comes to actually using their constitutional authority, the power of the purse --

CARSON: They're afraid.

HANNITY: They're afraid. How do you explain this mysterious fear that they show?

CARSON: I explain it as people who frequently are more interested in being re-elected than doing what they were elected to do. And they need to understand that they are there to serve the people. The people are sick and tired of people who are chicken-livers. They want people who actually stand up for what they sent them there to do.

HANNITY: A couple things that you've talked about that are interesting ideas to me, you like the flat tax. You used the analogy of tithing, which is interesting to me, and health savings accounts versus ObamaCare. Just briefly explain these three.

CARSON: Well, the reason that I like proportional taxes is they hit everybody in the same way. So, you know, you make $10 billion a year, you pay a billion, you make $10 you pay $1. And yet, you get the same rights. That makes a lot of sense. What doesn't make sense is you exempt anybody from it, and yet they have the opportunity to vote on how other people should pay. That makes no sense at all.

Also, here's the real genius of doing that. Politicians don't mind raising taxes on one percent or two percent, or five percent. They have a real problem raising them on 100 percent. They're going to have to justify that. They're not going to do it. They're going to find a way to live within their budget.

HANNITY: We have 50 million Americans on food stamps. How do you tax them?

CARSON: Well, recognize that a lot of people on food stamps don't need to be on food stamps. In 1969, 1.4 percent, today, more 14 percent on food stamps despite the trillions of dollars that we've spent. It tells you that we are doing it the wrong way. We need to have much better criteria.

HANNITY: Is 10 percent the number? Somebody makes $10 billion and pays $1 billion.

CARSON: It would be somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent. In the beginning it would be closer to 15. Over the course of time it would get closer to 10. Eventually, it would drop below that.

HANNITY: Rapid fire round. Abortion?

CARSON: I am totally pro-life.

HANNITY: Marriage, gay marriage?

CARSON: I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and no one should have the right to change the definition.

HANNITY: Colorado legalizing pot, good idea, bad idea?

CARSON: I think it's a horrible idea because many studies, this is not questionable, have shown that is has a deleterious effect on the developing brain, and the brain continues to develop into your late 20s.

HANNITY: Should every American have the right if they're law abiding to carry a gun in a state?

CARSON: Absolutely.

HANNITY: What about ObamaCare? I know you want to repeal it and replace it with health care savings accounts.

CARSON: We need to grasp a program that really works. And I hope Congress will understand the importance of putting the program out there, showing people how it works, put it on a website that works so people actually know what it is and they will be very happy to abandon ObamaCare.

HANNITY: Gitmo, keep it open, close it?

CARSON: Keep it open. We need the facility.

HANNITY: Why do you, Dr. Benjamin Carson, love America?

CARSON: Because I think it is a very special nation that was created so that people could be free. And they could be free to believe what they wanted. They could be free to work as hard as they wanted, knowing that their labor would accrue to them and to their family, that there wouldn't be a lot of people impinging upon their freedom and telling them what they had to do, and that it would be a nation that was representative of the people, and that it would have a government that was representative of the people rather than one that tried to rule the people.

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