Ben Carson Needs to Step Up His Game Against “Gotcha Journalists”

Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

While Carly Fiorina has demonstrated over and over that she can take on tough questions from partisan journalists seeking to do her political harm, Dr. Ben Carson has not been able to do that so far in his presidential campaign.

Today, CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Carson an absolutely idiotic question:

“Many people are equating what the Confederate flag stands for with the Gay Pride flag, and saying hey, that flag should be taken down too because all it represents is hatred towards Christians and people who don’t favor gay rights. Do you see an equation between those two symbols?” Cuomo asked.

Cuomo’s premise is absolutely ridiculous, and it served as an easy softball opportunity for Carson to laugh the question off and talk about his efforts to disarm racial tensions and call for healing following the Charleston massacre.

But Carson didn’t take that opportunity.

“Uh, well, you know, I, uh, I decided that I really want to talk about the confederate flag during this time,” Carson replied.

“But you just said, Doctor, that you cannot avoid these difficult situations because that’s how they fester. You must deal with what is difficult to deal with — that’s part of leadership. You just said that about the other issue,” Cuomo said.

“Like I said, if you want to talk about that, let’s, uh, do that on a different segment,” Carson said.

“So the discomfort of that conversation you feel distracts from the Confederate flag or just not something you want to handle?” Cuomo asked.

“Let’s do it at another time and specifically address that issue.”

Every single GOP candidate will be asked “gotcha” questions from journalists. It’s going to happen. The candidates should be prepared for the most out-of-the-box pivots to the gay marriage issue. This has been happening for months. There’s just no excuse for not having a strong response at this point in the campaign.

Dr. Carson is an incredibly intelligent man with strong conservative convictions. He would probably be a great President. Right now, this is the weakness in his game, but it’s early and it can be fixed. It’s time for Carson to sit down and do media training ASAP. Maybe Carly Fiorina can help?

Jon Schweppe is Deputy Director of Communications for American Principles in Action.