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Published — August 22, 2013 Updated — May 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm ET

Super PAC forms to ‘draft’ Ben Carson for president

Group led by John Philip Sousa descendant wants neurosurgeon, Obamacare critic in White House


Ben Carson quickly became a tea party favorite following his criticism of some of President Barack Obama’s policies during a National Prayer Breakfast speech earlier this year. Some conservatives even called on him to run for president.

Now the retired neurosurgeon and Medal of Freedom winner has a new super PAC urging him to do just that.

The “National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee” recently registered with the Federal Election Commission and launched a website to go along with its formation —

The site lists “9 things you can do today to help us draft Ben Carson for president” including praying, signing a petition and, of course, donating.

The committee’s website also lists John Philip Sousa IV, the great-grandson of the composer of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” as its national chairman.

Sousa also formed a California-based political action committee in January 2012 to back Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s re-election bid. Arpaio was the target of a failed recall attempt this year for allegedly profiling Latinos as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration.

Meanwhile, the group’s treasurer, Winston-Salem, N.C., resident Vernon Robinson, has run three unsuccessful congressional campaigns in North Carolina during the past decade.

The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee is hardly the first super PAC to form this year urging someone to run for the White House.

In January, supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton created the Ready for Hillary super PAC, which has raised $1.25 million and counting this year.

Super PACs may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to support or attack a federal political candidate (or potential candidate), but are prohibited from directly coordinating with them.

Carson, a former John Hopkins University neurosurgeon, spoke out against liberal health care and tax policies during his National Prayer Breakfast address, and warned that “the PC [politically correct] police are out in force at all times.” Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were in attendance.

The day after the speech, the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed titled “Ben Carson for President.”

A representative for the new super PAC couldn’t immediately be reached for comment today.

(Update, Aug. 22, 12:53 p.m.: Robinson explained that he helped start the super PAC because he believes Carson is the best candidate to defeat Clinton in 2016 — should she be the Democratic nominee — in part because of his “Reagan-esque ability to communicate his views.” He said the super PAC has already begun to receive donations — though he would not say how many — and send mailers to voters across the country promoting Carson.)

When asked about a potential 2016 White House bid in February by Fox News host Sean Hannity, Carson said, “If the Lord grabbed me by the collar and made me do it, I would. It’s not my intention.”

Read more in Money and Democracy

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