Dr. Ben Carson may be leaving the Republican presidential campaign trail, but he's not going anywhere yet. During a speech Friday evening at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he discussed his plans, as well as his hopes for the future.
The following is taken from his speech, in which he announced he would be leading a new faith-based voter outreach group called My Faith Votes:
I have lived a blessed life and achieved more success than I ever dreamed was possible. Running for president was never on my bucket list, and when I was drafted by a grass-roots movement asking me to do so, it was not a decision that I made lightly and saw as an act of service.
However, I believed that my values, life experience and common sense solutions put me in a position to help get our nation back on track for the sake of our children and grandchildren. This grueling endeavor would not have been worth it for any other reason.
When I began exploring a run for president as a private citizen detached from the political class, I had neither a political team nor a national network of wealthy donors standing by waiting to support me.
We had to build a grass-roots campaign from scratch by reaching out to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible and through every means possible, resulting in indisputable success. This movement consistently outraised the entire Republican field, got onto every ballot and built a 50-state, bricks-and-mortar campaign infrastructure to share my story, values and solutions. It was an historic feat, and I'll be forever grateful to my team and my incredible supporters, financial and otherwise, from all corners of America, on behalf of the best interests of the American people.
I hope my presence added a measure of civility to the race, raised issues that would not otherwise have been discussed and had an overall positive impact. While our political efforts must come to a close, gratefully, the grass-roots movement that has given new voice to "We the People" and inspired millions will continue.
I may be departing the campaign trail, but I will not be departing the scene. Instead, for the rest of my life, I will continue to work tirelessly to do everything I can to save America for the next generation.
I will be working on a number of initiatives, including serving as honorary chair of My Faith Votes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing the 25 million evangelicals who didn't vote in the last election. The twin pillars of faith and family are under attack, and I will endeavor to strengthen our nation by preserving them both.
I have committed to not endorse a specific individual, but rather "We the People." Though many today are making decisions based on fear and anger, I trust their judgment to logically examine the candidates and make the right decision by looking at:
1. Whether they have demonstrated significant accomplishments over their lives and careers.
2. If they have ideas that are clear and policies that are easy to find.
3. How they treat their family and others, as that is how they will lead the country.
4. What they have done to improve the lives of Americans; the people they are with, what they are saying and how they collaborate with others.
5. Their ethics, because what America needs is "Trickle-down ethics."
Conservatives should not be embarrassed by capitalism, but must couple it with compassion, to lift people out of a culture of dependency and provide ladders of opportunity for all Americans to be a part of the fabric of society.
People need to understand this is a most important election, in which we are deciding whether we allow the government to dictate our rights and take care of our needs, or whether individuals will rise up and take responsibility in an atmosphere of opportunity for all.
The bottom line is, "We the People" are the ones making the decisions; but in order to do that, we must become active and informed, not manipulated by the political classes and media.
Along with millions of patriots who have supported my campaign for president, I remain committed to saving America for future generations. We must not depart from our goals to restore what God and our Founders intended for this exceptional nation.
Equally important, we need to understand that Republicans are not each others' enemies. We need to engage in conversation and challenge each others' positions, not fight each other. Conservatives need to unify together so that that we do not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and put another secular progressive in the White House.
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