In his first visit to Israel, prospective Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said he is in awe of the Jewish state, inspired by its ancient holy sites, impressed by the resilience of people living in a perpetual conflict zone – and deeply disappointed in President Barack Obama.
“I do not believe that Obama has been one to cultivate the relationship,” said Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has emerged as a favorite of some conservatives in the early field of possible GOP candidates.
“I would make it very clear that Israel and the United States have a long, cordial relationship, and I don’t think we should ever leave the Israelis in a position of wondering whether we support them,” Carson said in an hourlong interview with The Associated Press in Jerusalem. “And that certainly is a question now.”
Carson, 63, perhaps best known for his groundbreaking work in separating conjoined twins, is largely unknown to most Americans. But he’s earned hero status among conservative activists thanks to his outspoken criticism of Obama’s health care law.
His rags-to-riches story – he had a hardscrabble childhood in inner-city Detroit – and his deep Christian faith also appeal to potential voters. While Carson has said he is “strongly considering” a bid, supporters have already opened offices in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
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