Ben Carson called for conservatives to stand up to the “PC police” and proclaim their values loud and clear during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday.

The retired neurosurgeon has been the subject of some presidential chatter among conservatives since rising to prominence in the movement after lambasting President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast last year while standing just feet away from him.

And he encountered a friendly crowd at CPAC, arriving on stage to a standing ovation, with members of the crowd holding up “Run Ben Run” signs.

Carson declared, "I hate political correctness" and said the problem facing America is that “people have been beaten into submission by the PC police…[and] are afraid to stand up for what they believe in.” 

He went on to clarify a number of his more controversial statements, but defended their substance. On his infamous comments that “no group, be they gays…be they people who believe in beastiality” can change the definition of marriage, he said that it was preposterous for people to suggest he had drawn such a comparison.

“Of course gay people should have the same rights as everyone else — but they don’t get extra rights,” he said, to roaring applause.

On his comments that ObamaCare is “the worst thing” since slavery, he said that “of course slavery is worse than ObamaCare,” but that the health law is still the most “massive shift of power that has ever occurred.”

He suggested his critics “repeat these lies over and over again because they cannot argue the actual facts.”

But he encouraged the crowd to follow his example. 

“I’ll continue to defy the PC police, who have tried, in many cases, to shut me up,” he said. “I actually find them pretty amusing.”

And while he told the audience to vote out of office lawmakers who continue to support debt limit increases, he also urged them not to be preoccupied with ideological purity at the expense of electoral success.

“The ship is about to sail off of Niagra Falls and we’re gonna be killed,” he said. “Forget about the barnacles. We’ve gotta get the ship turned around first.”

“When we get through with the primary season and your person hasn’t won…vote for em” anyway, he added.