Neurosurgeon-turned-conservative rock star Ben Carson on Wednesday refused to walk back inflammatory comments in which he compared the U.S. to Nazi Germany and described health care reform as the "worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery."
During an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer today, Carson doubled down on his remarks, asserting that his critics' "PCism" has wreaked havoc upon the country's political discourse.
"The people in Nazi Germany largely didn't believe in what Hitler was doing," Carson told Blitzer. "But they didn't say anything? Of course not, they kept their mouth shut. The fact that our government is using instruments of government like the IRS to punish its opponents, this is not the kind of thing that is a Democrat or a Republican issue. This is an American issue."
"A lot of people do not feel free to express themselves," he added.
Carson then resorted to a familiar line of defense, charging that media outlets are taking his remarks out of context.
"You are just focusing on the words Nazi Germany and completely missing the point of what I said. And that's the problem right now," he said. "That's what 'PCism' is all about. You may not say this word regardless of what your point is because if you say that word, I go into a tizzy."
In October, Carson warned that "political correctness" could lead the U.S. to collapse like the Roman Empire. “The reason that [political correctness] is very troubling to me,” Carson said at the time, “is that it’s the very same thing that happened to the Roman Empire. They were extremely powerful. There was no way anybody could overcome them. But these philosophers, with the long flowing white robes and the long white beards, they could wax eloquently on every subject, but nothing was right and nothing was wrong. They soon completely lost sight of who they were.”
Questioned about his comparison of Obamacare with slavery, Carson struck a defiant tone there, as well.
"Slavery was a horrible thing and affected many people in horrible ways, some of those effects still present today. So, no, it is not the same as slavery," he said told Blitzer. "However, what needs to be understood here is that the way this country was set up, the people -- we the people were set up at the pinnacle of power in this nation." Repeating a standard right-wing trope, Carson added that Obamacare ushered in a "fundamental shift of power" from the people to the government.
The retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon captivated conservatives with his 2013 address before the National Prayer Breakfast, where he denounced the health reform law in the presence of President Obama. An effort to draft Carson into the 2016 presidential contest soon followed, and he is making moves toward entering the race for the Republican nomination. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released this week found Carson in second place for the GOP nod, trailing only 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, who has repeatedly insisted he won't mount a third White House campaign.
If he does enter the race, Carson promises to generate plenty of headlines with his rabble-rousing rhetoric. He has compared homosexuality to murder, and made news earlier this week when he blamed feminism for the police shootings of unarmed black teens like the late Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri.
Watch Carson's interview at CNN.com.