Ben Carson Staffing Up in Iowa

Ben Carson Staffing Up in Iowa
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Retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson has begun hiring staff in advance of a prospective Republican presidential campaign in Iowa—another sign that the rhetorical bomb-thrower and hero to a swath of grassroots conservatives is indeed serious about launching a 2016 bid.

The American Legacy Center—a newly formed conservative policy group backed by Carson and his allies—has brought on Iowa tea party activist Ryan Rhodes to be part of its issues campaign in the nation's first voting state.

In August of 2011, Rhodes endorsed the then surging candidacy of Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann shortly before she won that year’s Ames Straw Poll.

He then went on to serve as Bachmann’s Tea Party Outreach Director in Iowa before her disappointing sixth-place finish in the 2012 caucuses.

Rhodes, who said that he spoke with several other potential White House contenders before signing on with Carson, told RealClearPolitics that he would support the former Fox News contributor’s White House bid, if he were to launch one later this year.

“I believe that he is the embodiment of the American dream and there’s no better person to advocate restoring the American dream than Ben,” he said.

Carson’s candidacy would be a long shot, but he has shown early signs of strength in Iowa.

On Thursday, Carson made headlines when he commended the courage of ISIS militants during a speech at the RNC’s winter meeting in San Diego.

“What have we got? We’ve got ISIS,” he said, according to the Washington Post. “They’ve got the wrong philosophy, but they are willing to die for what they believe, while we are busily giving away every belief and every value for the sake of political correctness.” 

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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