GREENVILLE, S.C. – Ben Carson is the only person in the 2016 presidential field who is vying to become the country’s second African-American president.
If truth be told, however, he’s not entirely sure he wouldn’t actually be the first.
Carson, speaking during a half-hour sit-down with POLITICO’s “Off Message” podcast as he waited for the results of Saturday’s South Carolina primary (he finished sixth out of six), laid out his views on racism – and his belief that his experience as poor black kid in 1960s Detroit represents the real experience of his people in way that Barack Obama could never understand.
“He’s an ‘African’ American. He was, you know, raised white,” said the world-renowned neurosurgeon, whose single mother worked three jobs – and occasionally relied on government aid – to elevate Carson and his older brother from the grinding poverty of ghetto life.
“I mean, like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when he was elected, but … he didn’t grow up like I grew up … Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch.”