An unlikely messenger on Saturday implored conservative activists to support the Republican candidate in the midterm elections even if they view that candidate as a RINO -- Republican in Name Only.
In remarks that could have been delivered by moderate Republican or a member of the GOP establishment, conservative firebrand Ben Carson, an African-American former surgeon, urged activists gathered for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference to look past the problems they might see with the Republican Party and focus on winning in November.
Carson didn’t discourage the contested primaries that are now underway in key Senate races and a few House contests. And, he didn’t just ask conservatives to accept flawed GOP candidates in the general election — he asked the same of those Republicans who don’t affiliate with the conservative movement. Still, his message was notable, coming from a political figure who is beloved among conservative activists and known for occasionally strident, controversial statements.
Here is the portion of Carson’s CPAC speech during which he made his recommendation for unity, beginning with some commentary on the debt ceiling that is more in line with what conservative activists were probably expecting to here from him during a very well-received speech at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, just outside of Washington, D.C.
“We have to know who our representatives are. And, the ones who are voting to keep raising that debt ceiling, get them out of office and replace with somebody else,” Carson said, before continuing:
“One of the things that is so important for conservatives — the ship is about to sail off of Niagara Falls and we’re all going to be killed. And we got a bunch of people looking over the side of the ship and they’re saying, 'But there’s barnacles on the side; we’ve got to get the barnacles off'. Forget about the barnacles. We got to get the ship turned around first. And you know when we get through with the primary season, and your person hasn’t won — you can call them whatever you want to call them, you can call them a RINO, you can call them a teabagger — you can call them whatever you want. Vote for ‘em, OK. We need those people, OK. We need them.”