Conservative firebrand Dr. Ben Carson says he’s positioning himself to run for the GOP presidential nomination, but that it’s not on his “bucket list” of things to do before he dies.


“There’s a possibility,” Carson said on "PoliticKING with Larry King" in an interview that will run Thursday night. “I’m — I’m a surgeon, so I have a surgeon’s personality, which means you look very carefully before you leap, and I need to be quite certain that that’s something that my compatriots in America really want me to do.”

Carson hedged, saying that if the support from conservatives isn’t there, he’d be fine passing on such a demanding position. 

“It was not on my bucket list as something that I really wanted to do, no,” he said. “However, sometimes we’re thrust into situations that are not of our choosing and we have to recognize that maybe there is a responsibility that has been handed to you by your fellow citizens, and you certainly have to consider that very seriously.”

“I’m not sure that any sane person would really want that job, you know, considering what happens to everybody who goes in that way,” he added. “You know, they look very old after a very short period of time, it’s very stressful. By the same token, we need to recognize that our nation is moving completely in the wrong direction.”

Carson said he’ll decide about whether to run for president by next May or June.

Carson exploded onto the political scene when he took the lectern at last year’s National Prayer Breakfast and chastised President Obama, who was seated next to him, over the nation’s “moral decay” and “fiscal irresponsibility.”

Carson has been a Fox News pundit; the network dropped him recently because it appeared he was gearing up for a presidential run.

“Because it appears that, you know, I may be moving in a position where I might become a candidate, and there’s some FCC rulings that say you have to give everybody equal time and, therefore, that was mutually agreed that it would be a good time to sever that relationship,” Carson explained to Larry King. 

Carson recently cut a 40-minute video that will run in 22 states introducing himself to the electorate, which many view as a sign he intends to throw his hat in the ring.

Carson has performed well in some recent straw polls, but the Republican field is expected to be crowded, and as a Tea Party candidate, he might have trouble breaking out from the niche he’d fill in the primaries. 

In the interview, Carson spoke positively about Republican gains in the 2014 midterms, but said there’s still work for the party to do.

“Republicans are going to need to put forth some plans that really appeal to all the groups that you just talked about, and I think they can be done, and I think many of those principles are already there,” he said. “They simply have not yet been articulated in a way that resonates with people.”

Carson criticized the Affordable Care Act, but said it shouldn’t be repealed unless Republicans have a viable replacement ready to go. He touted his own healthcare plan, which would draw from Medicaid to set up flexible health savings accounts for individuals.

“I do not believe that [healthcare] is a right, but I believe it is a responsibility for compassionate people, and we are a compassionate people in this nation and we do have the means and the resources to take care of the health of our people,” he said.

“The proposal that I put forth for health care takes care of all those issues quite effectively,” he added. “More importantly, it eliminates the two-tiered system so that everybody is of equal value to the medical system, and that’s important, particularly in terms of the disparity issue.”