For a man unknown to most of America a month ago, Dr. Ben Carson is suddenly everywhere.
The Johns Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon is now a viral phenomenon, with a half-hour National Prayer Breakfast speech that has found its way to millions of inboxes.
That address, covering topics from personal responsibility to education to taxes to health care, landed him on a smattering of political shows in the days following, as questions sprang forth:
Why did he address such specifics with President Obama seated two chairs away?
Does he envision running for office himself?
What is the meaning of his sudden popularity?
All good questions. And this week, over lunch, he answered them.
It’s a world of connections, and I am very fortunate to be close to James and Betty Robison, whose “Life Today” evangelical broadcasts reach millions of viewers over religious and secular stations alike from their Texas headquarters.
James was kind enough to invite me to the Thursday taping of an interview with Dr. Carson, which will air in a few weeks. His answers during that taping and at a private lunch thereafter might be of some interest to those who have been wondering what the good doctor has up his sleeve.
He continues to accept speaking engagements while the Prayer Breakfast iron is still hot. He will speak at CPAC in Washington in two weeks. Part of the motivation is the natural boost in interest for his book, “America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great.”
But there is a deeper agenda, and I don’t mean political aspirations.
In fact, let’s get that out of the way first. Before I could badger him personally about whether he will satisfy those who would like to see him enter the 2016 presidential field, a questioner in the Life Today audience beat me to it.
“I was actually thinking about retiring,” he said. “Propping my feet up, playing golf, learning to play the organ...”
But he went on to say that from choosing the content of a single speech to plotting the course for his remaining life, he likes to quiet himself and listen to guidance from God.
In other words, he isn’t announcing anything anytime soon, but nor is the door closed.
Carson talks about God a lot, and not just at prayer breakfasts or religious TV tapings.