Ben Carson defending his campaign strategy

White House hopeful joins 'The O'Reilly Factor' to react to the third GOP debate


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 29, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: "Impact Segment" tonight: can guys like Donald Trump and Ben Carson really govern this country?


KASICH: My great concern is that we are on the verge perhaps of picking someone who cannot do this job. I have heard about tax schemes that don't add up that put our kids in a deeper hole than they are today.


O'REILLY: Joining us now from Denver is Dr. Ben Carson. Before we get to policy, you held a press conference. You want to change the format of the debate. Just briefly tell us what your vision is there.

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think the debate last night crystallized the fact that these gotcha type questions are not very helpful in terms of helping the people to understand who the candidates are and what their policies are. And so I have asked my staff to reach out to all the staffs of all the other candidates and let's talk about a different type of format. Perhaps something where you have two, three, four, five minutes to talk about your policies, about your tax policies, about other kinds of things and then be questioned about them. That kind of information would indeed be very helpful to the populace.

O'REILLY: Ok. I can't disagree with that but you can't limit the questioning in the sense that the moderator has to have the freedom to go where the moderator wants to go.

Now, that being said, the whole country knows liberal bias shown on CNBC and particularly when you put it into context of what happened on CNN with the Democratic debate. I mean it's like two different planets.

So now everybody knows there is no -- it's beyond a reasonable doubt. But the Republican Party put you guys on that stage. They didn't have to ok a CNBC debate, did they?

CARSON: Well, you know, fortunately, this was so bad that I think even the RNC will recognize that that was a mistake and maybe we need to be looking for a better way to do this -- a way that will advantage us rather than advantaging the other party.

O'REILLY: Ok. What was the tipping point for you in the debate last night where you just went -- you know, this is absurd? What was that?

CARSON: Well, I think it was the launch of the Cruz missile. When Senator Cruz, you know, really chastised them and, you know, specifically pointed out what they were doing to each one of the candidates.

O'REILLY: Brilliant move.

CARSON: I think that was very telling.

O'REILLY: Yes. It was a brilliant move. And I think -- you know, I agree with you that everything kind of ground to a halt then.

Now, I have been looking at your tax plan, your flat tax plan. Look, I want smaller government. I want more money in the pockets of American workers very, very badly. Your plan is not going to work unless you raise it up to 22 percent. You get it at 15 percent, you've got to be 22 percent because we have commitments to the military. We have commitments to infrastructure. We have commitments to Social Security and Medicare that the government has botched for centuries -- decades. It has to be 22 percent.

CARSON: Actually, if you look at the amount of taxable income, it's going to be right around $18 trillion. And if you take 15 percent of that, that's $2.7 trillion.

O'REILLY: But you're not leaving yourself any -- you're not leaving yourself any margin for error and you have to pay down the debt. One of the things that a Republican president is going to have to do is pay down that debt.

CARSON: Well, I haven't finished.

O'REILLY: All right.

CARSON: Ok. I haven't even talked about capital gains yet. That would also be at the same rate of 15 percent. And then couple that with the fact that we would do some real cost cutting. We have $4.1 million --

O'REILLY: Well, I don't know if Congress is going to go along with that. They like their pork projects. One final thing though.

CARSON: I think they will go along with it.

O'REILLY: you're going to have to settle for about 20 percent, 22 percent if you get elected president. I know it. Just looking out for you Doc.

The final thing is that when you have a program like you do, it's good to be specific, but I think you have to have a little wiggle room. Am I wrong?

CARSON: It's always good to have wiggle room. But I want the wiggle room on the other side. You know, when you see all the things that we are going to be altering in order to create efficiency because there is massive inefficiency in the 645 government agencies and sub-agencies. You wouldn't even begin to believe how much.

O'REILLY: I have been doing this for almost 40 years. I know how screwed up it is. But you can't take home mortgage deductions away from those who already have them. There's a whole bunch of things you can't do. Anyway we'll have this conversation down the road in more detail.


O'REILLY: As always, good to see you doc. I know you are tired. I know it's been a rough week and we appreciate you coming on.

CARSON: All right. Thank you -- Bill.

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