In an interview with The Daily Caller on Friday, a close friend and adviser to Ben Carson said he believes it is likely the neurosurgeon will run as a Republican for president in 2016.
“I think he’s very, very serious,” said Terry Giles, who recently agreed to serve as chairman of the campaign if Carson pulls the trigger on a run. “If it were on the big board in Vegas, I’d probably be betting in favor of the fact he’s going to run.”
Carson — the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital — has acknowledged that he is considering a White House campaign. The author and public speaker has been increasingly mentioned as a possible candidate, following a burst of attention last year for famously arguing a conservative message at the National Prayer Breakfast as President Obama sat just a few feet away.
“I am in the process of arranging my life so that if Ben wants me to be involved in the campaign, I could take the time off for how ever long that is from all my other businesses and activities in order to do that,” Giles said. “I don’t think he would ask me to do that if he wasn’t serious.”
Giles, a businessman from Texas who has known Carson for 20 years, told TheDC he doesn’t expect Carson to make up his mind for another “six, seven or eight months.”
“I’m really there to help Ben in whatever way I can,” Giles said. “Right now, he’s indicated that if he runs, he’d like me to chair the campaign. It will be my intent all along to make sure that we build a team that can help Ben win. There’s not another reason to put him and his family in the crosshairs of the political world if we’re not there to win.”
Giles met Carson in 1994 when both were inducted in the Horatio Alger Association together. (Carson featured Giles as one of the four life stories he tells in his 2000 book “The Big Picture.”)
“We got close over the years,” Giles said. “I know Ben to be a thoughtful, compulsive truth teller. He is the smartest guy in almost any room he’s in. You can count on him being the smartest guy there.”
“He’s tough minded, so you can’t confuse his kindness with not being tough, but he has a kind heart,” Giles continued. “That probably comes from being a healer his whole life. And he’s soft-spoken. And he’s thoughtful. And he cares about people. And I really believe he cares about America.”
Giles acknowledges that neither he nor Carson have political backgrounds, and would need to bring on board people with campaign experience if Carson decides to run for president.
“He’s aware of the fact I don’t have a political background,” he said. “I’ve been assured we’d be bringing on the seasoned political experts to assist and obviously we’d have to fill out the campaign with a number of other folks that would help us to build the kind of team we want to build.”
Carson recently released a new book, and has been using his book tour to gauge whether Americans want someone like him to run, Giles said.
“Ben is well aware, of course, that he’d be the one person in there with truly no political history,” Giles said. “And I think he’s trying to judge the pulse of the country. Are they ready for that? Are we finally ready to get somebody in there who can actually get the job done? That hasn’t lived their entire life on some government payroll? Is American really ready for that? Are we finally ready for that? That’s one of the things he’s looking at as well.”