Dr. Ben Carson on Planned Parenthood, SCOTUS, political influences

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 29, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Welcome back to Center Seat. Tonight we welcome Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson to our Center Seat. Let's bring in our panel, Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard, Ron Fournier, senior political columnist of National Journal, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Dr. Carson, thanks for being here.


BAIER: Let me start with something you've been talking about. Today your potential opponent, Hillary Clinton, told The New Hampshire Union Leader that she firmly defends Planned Parenthood, but she called these videos, these new videos, disturbing today and said there should be an investigation. Your reaction to that?

CARSON: Well, that's one thing they agree with her on, that we definitely should be investigating this. For Planned Parenthood also, I would ask that maybe Ms. Clinton would go back and look at their history and look at the history of the person who was the major founder, Margaret Sanger, who she said she admires, who was a racist and believed in eugenics. And go back and look at many of her quotations. It's really quite disturbing that anybody would find someone like that a heroic figure.

But more importantly what's going on here is we as society have allowed our sensitivities to gradually be dulled to the point where it takes something of this magnitude to begin to shock us when all along babies were being slaughtered. And the relationship, one of the most sacred relationships that exists, that between a mother and a developing child, has been distorted to the point where we have many women believe that that's an inconvenience for them and that that child is their enemy, and that that child can be destroyed, and that anybody who doesn't agree with that is engaged in a war on women.

BAIER: So I assume that you're fully behind the effort to defund Planned Parenthood. They come back and say there are other things that organization does, cancer screenings, women's health. They list a whole bunch of things.

CARSON: Not only am I fully behind it, I encourage people to sign our petition on BenCarson.com to defund it. You know, all those things that they say that they do otherwise -- mammograms and screenings and HIV testing, et cetera -- aren't those the things that we're supposed to be taken care of by Obamacare? And there are many other mechanisms to get those things taken care of. So I think it's just a screen. And we -- again, I keep pointing people to the fact that babies, human beings, are not just a needless pile of cells as they would have you believe. They have to dehumanize it in order to justify what they're doing.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Speaking of Obama care, one subject that will surely be part of the debate next week is Medicaid. Some of your rivals as governor chose to expand it under Obamacare. Others rejected that option. I'm interested in your views generally on whether it was a good idea to expand Medicaid or not. And secondly, is it your experience -- what's your experience in terms of the care that patients get who are on Medicaid? Is it necessarily the case that they get better outcomes if they're on Medicaid?

CARSON: No, they don't necessarily get better care. And many practitioners don't necessarily accept patients who are on Medicaid. I could give you some shocking names of some Democrats who try to act like they're wonderful people and don't want to deal with it.

HAYES: You're welcome to.


HAYES: I'd like to ask you questions about that.

CARSON: But fact of the matter is, the bottom line is we really need to start thinking about, how do we take care of people in a reasonable way? How do we take practitioners out of a position where they have to decide upon the viability of their practice and therefore they can only take a certain number of those kinds of patients? We don't want them in that position.

And that's why I have tended to look for a better system. Is health care a right? I don't believe it is. But I do believe it's a responsible responsibility for a compassionate society which we are. And that's why I've advocated the use of health savings accounts, make them available to everybody. We can pay for them with the same dollars that we pay for traditional care with. We give people flexibility to move money around in their HSA within their family. It gives you enormous flexibility to cover almost anything that comes up. It makes the cost of catastrophic insurance go down dramatically because the only thing coming out of it is catastrophic health care. And that will easily take care of the majority of people in this country for less money than we're paying now.

But what about the indigent? This is where Medicaid and things of that come in. That's how we take care of them now, Medicaid. But the annual Medicaid budget is $400 billion to $500 billion a year. Think about the fact there are a quarter of our people involved in that, 80 million. And
80 million to $400 billion goes 5,000 times, $5,000 each man, woman and child. What could you buy with that? A concierge practice and still have money left over to buy catastrophic insurance. I'm not suggesting we do that, but that's what's available.

If we do that in a practical way, give them the ability to have control of their HSA, which people in government will say you can't do because they're stupid and they can't do it. But they said that about food stamps, too.
It's not true. And they will learn how to use it very quickly and not to go to the emergency room where it costs five times more than to go to the clinic.

And in the clinic you're also going to be looking at their overall health, and you're going to be teaching the whole concept of health management for themselves. And we want to teach people how to be responsible and not how to be dependent.


RON FOURNIER, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Sir, you and I grew up in the same town of Detroit about the same time. I grew up on the northeast side, raised by a Detroit riot cop. My family and my neighborhood was part of white flight in the '70s and '80s. You grew up in the southwest side. Mother was a housekeeper. You grew up near the riots.
Can you talk a little bit about our city, our different experiences, our two Americas, and how that might reflect the way you would lead this country?

CARSON: Well, you know, Detroit is a great example of what the United States is going to experience if they don't learn from what Detroit did. You know, basically Detroit kept kicking the can down the road, being fiscally irresponsible, not caring about the next generation, allowing bad relationships to fester and feeding them. And it blew up. It was once the most prosperous city in America, some people say the most prosperous city in the world. And from there we go to the largest bankruptcy in our country. And I think there are many things for to be learned. One of the things is that we cannot allow the purveyors of division to prevail and to drive wedges between us in every possible way -- race, religion, gender, income, age, everything possible.

FOURNIER: Politics?

CARSON: Politics, everything.

The other thing is we must be fiscally responsible. Detroit was not fiscally responsible. And some people say it was the unions, the unions, the unions. But no, the unions couldn't have done what they did without cooperation from all of those executives in the automobile industry who knew that they would have a golden parachute and be long gone before the effects hit. And if we only worry about ourselves and we don't worry about those coming behind us, that is inevitable.

FOURNIER: Sounds like D.C., doesn't it?

CARSON: It really does.

BAIER: Let me wrap this first segment there. We'll have two more with Dr.
Carson. More with Center Seat and Charles Krauthammer's question after the


BAIER: And we're back with our panel and presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Doctor, let's assume you're president. You have to make a Supreme Court appointment. There are two very important issues historically. One is the abortion decision, 1973, and then the one we got last year, legalizing -- well, mandating gay marriage. Would you require of all your nominees a pledge or at least a commitment to overturn them both?

CARSON: I don't believe that that is the right way to appoint people. I think the better way to appoint people is to go back and look at their judicial history. And I think that informs you a lot more. We've tried it the other way. And it doesn't seem to work.

KRAUTHAMMER: You get liars?

CARSON: Yes. You get people who prevaricate and perhaps distort the truth a little bit in order to attain a job. But what doesn't really lie is their record. If you look back and see what they've done. Do they really understand the constitution? And it requires some significant delving into their past.

KRAUTHAMMER: So let me ask it another way. If you were the first neurosurgeon appointed to Supreme Court, assuming in this race doesn't quite pan out, would you overturn Roe and would you overturn the gay marriage decision?

CARSON: I would certainly be on the side of getting rid of both of those, absolutely. I don't deny that in any way.

BAIER: OK. We asked people on Twitter to write in and Facebook. Robert tweeted in, "Lack of foreign policy experience. Why should we trust Dr.
Carson on foreign policy?"

CARSON: Well, I would say that I've visited 57 countries, lived overseas, talked to many foreign leaders, been involved in health care interests in other countries, and, most importantly, I actually have a brain and can actually learn things other than medicine.

And I always find it fascinating that people would ask that of me because I'm a neurosurgeon, but they don't necessarily ask that of somebody who has been a senator or a governor who really has no more foreign policy experience than I do and perhaps has even spent less time talking to other people and learning about it. And I think when it comes to actual foreign policy issues the proof will be in the pudding. What do I think? What are my solutions?

BAIER: Steve?

HAYES: So what does that process look like for you? Let's stipulate that you're capable of learning. I think very few people would dispute that.
What have you been doing? Have you been reading books? Have you been consulting with foreign policy experts?

CARSON: I've been reading books, talking to many people in the military, people in the CIA, foreign leaders. And not to mention the fact that since I was nine-years-old I've been very attentive to what's going on. It started when I was nine-years-old and I was getting a haircut. I looked at the television and there were these people mowing people down with hoses and dogs were attacking people. That began my political interests. And I've continued it ever since that time.


FOURNIER: What foreign leader whom you've met has most shaped your world view?

CARSON: Probably Fidel Castro.

FOURNIER: How so? You better finish that answer quick.


CARSON: Yes, in the sense that he seemed completely full of himself and could talk for hours saying nothing. And it helped me to realize right off the bat that just because someone has a high position, it doesn't mean that they're an admirable person.

BAIER: Dr. Carson, I've heard you say before that you would do away with foreign aid. Is that all foreign aid?

CARSON: I would do -- well, I have to put that in context. The reason that I'm not interested in America giving away billions of dollars to other countries is because we don't have billions of dollars to give away. We're borrowing money from other people, paying the interest, and then giving it as foreign aid to people. That doesn't make any sense. That's craziness.
And we already have a national debt of $18.4 trillion and growing and getting bigger by $500 million every day. But that's nothing compared to the fiscal gap, that amount of money that we owe as a government in terms of the liabilities that are unfunded versus what we have coming in. Bring that forward to today's dollars, that is known as the fiscal gap.

BAIER: Senator Paul has made that case before, too, but he eventually changed because of the pressure about Israel. Are you talking about Israel, too?

CARSON: In general we do not -- it doesn't make sense for us to borrow money in order to give money to somebody else and pay the interest on it.

FOURNIER: What about giving money to Israel?

CARSON: Israel I would certainly continue to aid. I think Israel is our friend and a strategic ally for us. I was in Israel about six months ago, and I couldn't find a single person there who didn't think we had turned our backs on them. And I think they're a strategic ally for us.

KRAUTHAMMER: Isn't that the case that's always been made for foreign aid?
The Marshall plan which saved Europe and created the best strategic ally we've ever had has also done at a time of huge deficits after the Second World War. So in other words you would prioritize and give aid to countries if it were strategically important?

CARSON: If it was clearly a necessary thing to do. But in many cases it's not. And in many cases we're giving aid to many countries what that don't even like us and say bad things about it.

BAIER: Final round with Dr. Carson and the panel as Center Seat continues after a quick break.


BAIER: Center Seat continues with our panel and Dr. Ben Carson. OK, Dr.
Carson, in the real clear politics average polls you're in fifth place currently. In the latest FOX poll in sixth place. By all accounts you'll make the debate stage in Cleveland. But what about painting a picture for people about how you're going to get the nomination?

CARSON: Well, the best way, the best pathway for me is exposure. Fifty percent of the people still don't know who I am. And, you know, I'm very much looking forward to the debates because, you know, a lot of the information that has been disseminated about me is not true and people will have an opportunity to say, wow, you mean this guy actually does know something about foreign policy? He actually does know something about economics? He actually is a reasonable person and doesn't hate everybody else? Oh my god! And then they might actually start listening.


KRAUTHAMMER: There are some people, some of them I know well, who when they hear the word Trump, they get a headache. What's your diagnosis?

CARSON: Well, you know, I know Donald Trump. I remember the very first time I met him at MiraLago. He was so gracious. He just kept coming back making sure I was comfortable. And he has always been that way around me.

But Donald Trump is Donald Trump, and he has a unique space he carves out.
It's creating a lot of excitement. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so other things will happen as time goes on and as information is revealed about each of us and about our proposals for this country. So I believe the system is a good system and it will take care of that.

KRAUTHAMMER: Do you think it will help the party or hurt the party?

CARSON: I think the more -- right now we're in a critical juncture. We have to pick the strongest candidate, and we need to look at everybody. We need not predetermine who that person is. Let's listen to what their solutions are, including his.

FOURNIER: You look at your poll and Donald Trump's polls on a graph, yours starts going down as he skyrockets. He is clearly taking support from you.
How do you claim that back?


FOURNIER: You don't have a lot of time.

CARSON: We have plenty of time. If you look at election cycles, primary cycles, it is up and down, up and down, different people at different times. It's hard to imagine it is going to remain exactly the same way up until the primary.

FOURNIER: Do you feel pressure to be bombastic and seize headlines?

CARSON: I feel pressure to be myself.

HAYES: As you go through the process and look at the rest of the Republican field, is there anybody in the field you particularly admire?

CARSON: I admire anybody who is willing to go through this.


BAIER: Dr. Carson, thank you very much for being here.

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