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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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March 21st, 2013
05:48 PM ET

Is this the man who will save the GOP?

By Jake Tapper and Sherisse Pham

Saving the Republican party isn't brain surgery, but you might think it is with all the infighting since they lost the election. Now, a new conservative star is on the rise, and he just happens to be a neurosurgeon.

Dr. Ben Carson, who is also African-American, made a splash at CPAC last week, where crowds cheered his hints at running for office.

"If a year-and-a-half goes by and people are still clamoring for me to do that, and there's no other very good candidates, I would certainly have to seriously consider it," says the Baltimore-based neurosurgeon.

Carson would be one of few Republican African Americans to hold political office.

"There has developed a culture where one party in particular tends to be seen as the one that is protecting you, that is protecting your rights. And that happens to be the Democratic Party for many people in the African-American community," said Carson. "But, you know, the deeper issue is why do people feel that they need to be protected?"

Carson went on to suggest that the Democratic party patronizes African Americans, and only wants to take care of them.

"What I really would like to aim toward is a situation where we get people to rise and to utilize the tremendous potential that God has given them, and to work with each other so that we can all rise together," said the doctor, "rather than pretty much having a class of people and we kind of pat them on the head and say, 'There, there, you poor little thing, we're going to take care of you.' "

Carson has said in the past that he opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he does not care what his conservative colleagues think of that position.

The best way of fighting terrorism or getting rid of dictators in the Middle East, said the Maryland Republican, "is to become petroleum-independent. If we become petroleum-independent, we almost win that war on the terrorists immediately, because their funding disappears."

"I approve of using lots of different techniques to accomplish our goals," said Carson, "But they don't necessarily involve putting our troops in harm's way."

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