By Mark Kobzik

Staff Writer

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks to a crowd in the Huddleston Hall Ballroom.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks to a crowd in the Huddleston Hall Ballroom.

Dr. Ben Carson, famed neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate, visited the University of New Hampshire yesterday afternoon for a town hall meeting with a few hundred local supporters. Carson has been slowly gaining ground on GOP leader Donald Trump, who is now only one point ahead of Carson in the latest NBC Republican presidential nomination poll.

Carson stood in the Huddleston ballroom and outlined his background, his views on political correctness, and stance on foreign policy.

Carson began the speech by talking about his childhood.   

He grew up in Detroit and said, “I could not wait to get out of school. My classmates called me ‘dummy.’ I just hoped that I would not be called on. I wanted to play sports. I wanted to be outside.”

This type of thinking eventually wore off as he began to take school very seriously and later attended Yale and then was one of two students out of 125 to be selected into Johns Hopkins medical school for neurosurgery.

Carson started to get more serious when he spoke about the media and the influence of political correctness on American society.

He said, “(The media) want us to believe that there are religious wars, wars on women, or income wars. That just because someone disagrees with you, that they should be destroyed… We need to grow up as a country and stop being divided. It is essential to reject those who would divide us.”

Instead, Carson said we should be focusing on real threats. He said, “There are people looking to destroy us. They are called global jihadists. We cannot aid them… We need to engage in civil dialogue and stay united as a nation.”

Carson also mentioned the state of the economy and the debt crisis. He said, “The economic machine we have cannot function with the regulations it’s under. Every regulation is a tax. Every regulation costs us money. These regulations hurt the middle class and the poor. This is what we will have to address if we want to fight income inequality.”

On jobs, Carson said, “We need to develop all of our people. We can’t keep them languishing. This is the private sector’s job, not the governments’.”

Tim Jackson, a local supporter, was in attendance at the meeting yesterday holding up a Ben Carson for president sign. He said, ”My wife is a strong supporter of his. She watched his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast a few years ago and told me, that’s our next president. I whole heartedly believe that he will be our president.”

In 2013, during the annual National Prayer Breakfast, Carson gave a speech that criticized President Obama, who was in attendance. Carson also raised concerns about political correctness culture and its ability to divide a nation.

Carson soon became a popular conservative figure and earlier this year started his campaign for the presidency. He has made several stops in New Hampshire this month, while climbing in the polls. As he has stated many times, he is not a politician.

A man in the audience asked Carson if he truly believes that climate change does not exist. Carson said, “The climate is always changing, it is a natural process… I also believe this should not be political.”

Carson was swarmed by the eager crowd right after the speech for about a half an hour. He signed everything from baseballs to his best-selling books. From there he moved onto his next stop in Exeter.