It's a forum that isn't known for making news - so Dr. Ben Carson says the buzz created by his speech at last week's National Prayer Breakfast, including a Wall Street Journal staff editorial with the headline "Ben Carson For President" - came as a surprise.
"I don't think it was particularly political," Carson, the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, told ABC's Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl during an interview for "This Week." "You know, I'm a physician. I like to diagnose things. And, you know, I've diagnosed some pretty, pretty significant issues that I think a lot of people resonate with."
With an audience that included President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, Carson spoke out about political correctness, health care and taxes at the breakfast. In his roughly 23-minute address, Carson called for a private health care savings plan and a flat tax for all Americans. His address has since gone viral, racking up more than two million views on YouTube.
The speech isn't Carson's first foray into national politics. In 2008, President George W. Bush awarded the successful brain surgeon the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
On Sunday, Carson criticized some of President Obama's policies but also called him a "very talented politician."
"There are a number of policies that I don't believe lead to the growth of our nation and don't lead to the elevation of our nation," Carson added. "I don't want to sit here and say all of his policies are bad."
He also offered his diagnosis for today's political environment.
"What I would like to see more often in this nation is an open and intelligent conversation, not people just casting aspersions at each other," Carson said on "This Week." "I mean, it's unbelievable to me the way people act like third graders. And if somebody doesn't agree with them, they're this and they're that and, you know -- it comes from both sides. And it's just so infantile."
As for his own ambitions, Carson, 61, is retiring from practicing medicine this summer. But he told Jonathan Karl he's not ruling out a future bid for political office.
"That's not my intention," he said. "But I always say, 'I'll leave that up to God.'"
SOURCE: ABC News