Carson super-PAC morphs into VP vehicle
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After spending more than $10 million in a failed bid to make Ben Carson president, the main super-PAC supporting the retired neurosurgeon is now transforming itself into a big-money vehicle designed to make Carson Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE's vice presidential pick.
 
The goal, says the pro-Carson super-PAC's founder, John Philip Sousa IV, is for Carson to provide moral guidance to the billionaire New York real estate developer and Republican presidential front-runner.
 
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"President Trump will need the wise counsel and moral compass of Dr. Ben Carson," Sousa wrote in an email to super-PAC supporters Monday afternoon.
 
Sousa elaborated on his plans in a telephone interview Tuesday with The Hill.
 
"One of the reasons we called our group 'The 2016 Committee' was to give it inordinate flexibility," Sousa said.
 
"The 2016 Committee will now kind of morph itself into the objective of having Dr. Carson be Donald Trump's running mate."
 
Sousa says the super-PAC has been in a holding pattern since Carson quit the presidential race, but he is now ready to launch a new campaign — powered by an extensive list of donors — to convince Trump to pick Carson as his running mate.
 
"Honestly, I am not a Donald Trump guy," Sousa told his super-PAC donors via email.
 
"But, I’ve learned to deal with reality ... If the Donald is going to be our nominee, who else would you like to have his ear and give him advice than Dr. Ben Carson?
 
"Perhaps, with the Donald’s nomination looming as inevitable, it was very wise of Dr. Carson to endorse Mr. Trump so that he can exert a positive influence upon him," Sousa added.
 
Sousa says in the less than 24 hours that transpired between him sending the email on Monday afternoon and late Tuesday morning, he received more than 3,000 responses, "which just blew us away." Sousa says 92 percent of the donors on his list agreed with the proposition that Carson should be drafted as Trump's vice president.
 
The response was enough to convince Sousa that the Carson-for-VP campaign should move ahead into fundraising and campaign mode. He's gathering his senior team in D.C. next Tuesday to plan a "two- or three- or four-pronged attack."
 
"We're going to get petitions, letters ... to give to Donald Trump to encourage him to select Ben Carson as his running mate," Sousa said. 
 
"We're also going to go after delegates prior to the convention. ... We're going to be very, very heavy on social media promoting this Trump-Carson ticket."
 
The 2016 Committee raised some Republican consultants' eyebrows during the primary campaign when Federal Election Commission (FEC) expenditure reports showed that it spent hundreds of thousands of dollars buying and distributing books by Sousa about Carson. 
 
Sousa said on Tuesday that he didn't personally profit from the sales and that the vast majority of the books were given away.
 
Accounting for the expenditure from a predecessor group known as the "National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee," the pro-Carson super-PACs spent about $14 million on their campaign to first draft, and then help, Carson become president.
 
But after failing in his original quest, Sousa is moving confidently toward his new challenge.
 
"If we are going to push Ben Carson as our party’s vice presidential nominee we must do it now," he wrote in his email to donors. 
 
"Time is short."