It’s hard to believe that an American news anchor would be asking candidates if Barack Obama was “a real black president” in 2015, but that’s what happened when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewed GOP hopeful Ben Carson on Thursday.
After News Corporation founder Rupert Murdoch posted — and then retracted — a tweet asserting that Carson would be a “real black president” because Obama was not, Blitzer sat down with Carson in the CNN studios to get the former neurosurgeon’s thoughts.
“I know Rupert Murdoch, he’s not a racist by any stretch of the imagination,” Carson insisted. “I think he’s just expressing his opinion. I think it’s a bunch to do about nothing.”
“But he’s suggesting that President Obama is not a real black president,” Blitzer noted.
“I believe what he was making reference to what the fact that here was a man who is a black president that the black community was very excited about who came in whose policies have not really elevated the black community, has not been beneficial,” Carson opined. “There’s more unemployment, more poverty. And I believe that’s what he was really referring to.”
“You believe the president is a real black president, right?” Blitzer asked.
“I wouldn’t even get into suck a conversation,” Carson replied.
“It’s a simple question,” Blitzer pressed. “Is President Obama a real black president?”
“Well, he’s the president and he’s black,” Carson laughed.
“So he’s a real black president,” Blitzer repeated.
“If — again, you know, we’re dealing with semantics,” Carson said. “As you know, I’m the last person who wants to play around with semantics and political correctness. You know, Rupert Murdoch said what he said. He apologized because a lot of people took it the wrong way. I think there’s so many more important issues to deal with.”
Blitzer moved on to ask if President Obama had been born in the United States, and Carson agreed that he was. But when Blitzer asked if the president was a Christian, Carson once against dodged the question.
“He says he is,” Carson demurred.
“But do you believe he is?” Blitzer asked again.
“I have to take him at his word,” Carson insisted.
“Why can’t you just say he’s a Christian?” Blitzer wondered. “If he goes to church, he believes in Christ. Why can’t you just simply say he’s a Christian?”
“I can simply say I’ll take him at his word,” the candidate remarked.
Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast Oct. 8, 2015.