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Dr. Ben Carson: Can rising conservative star really fulfill GOP dreams?

Dr. Ben Carson wowed the crowd at CPAC. But as the renowned neurosurgeon's views become known, he may not be a perfect fit for establishment Republicans.

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Ben Carson (r.), a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University, signs a book for Delegate William Frank (R) of Baltimore County, in Annapolis, Md., March 8, after Dr. Carson spoke at a legislative prayer breakfast.

Brian Witte/AP

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Ben Carson, a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University, is conservatives’ newest darling. He is smart, successful, affable – and African-American.

At the National Prayer Breakfast last month, Dr. Carson first won political notice with his critique of Obamacare. He also warned that “moral decay” and “fiscal irresponsibility” can destroy a nation from within – even a powerful country like America. President Obama sat stone-faced nearby.

Then at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) near Washington, Carson won several standing ovations as he spoke about his upbringing by a single mom in Detroit, the importance of education, the need for a flat tax, and the “war on God.”

Carson also announced he’s retiring in about three months, and suggested he’s open to running for president. The Wall Street Journal is already on board: “Ben Carson for President,” its editorial page wrote after the prayer breakfast.

But for a Republican Party eager for new talent – and the support of minorities – Carson may not be a perfect fit. For starters, he’s not a Republican; he’s an independent. And in an interview with the Daily Caller website, posted late Tuesday, the doctor revealed that he opposed both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and believes “consenting adults have the right to formalize a relationship between them.”

Carson described a letter he wrote to President Bush after the 9/11 attacks, suggesting a course of action that did not involve invading Iraq or even Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda was operating.

“I actually wrote President Bush a letter before the [Iraq] war started and I said, you know, what I would do is I would use the bully pulpit at this moment of great national unity and, very much in a Kennedy-esque type fashion, say within 10 years we’re going to become petroleum independent,” Carson told The Daily Caller.

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