— -- Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has captivated the conservative community and thrown himself into the pool of potential 2016 presidential contenders, told ABC News on Thursday that when it comes to politics, his race and upbringing give him “a great deal of perspective.”
“Having grown up in the lowest rungs, economically, of society and being able to rise through every level to the top and seeing what concerns people at all those different levels,” Carson told ABC’s Rick Klein. “The things that concern black people are really the same things that concern white people or brown people or yellow people.”
In an interview on the first day of this year’s Conservative Political Action conference being held outside Washington, DC, Carson said it is “extremely important” to have leaders in the Republican Party who can speak to underrepresented communities.
He also cast himself as a person who is not “very partisan.”
“I think that partisanship is actually destroying our nation,” he said.
Carson weighed on the recent moves in some states to legalize marijuana (he is not a fan) as well as the recent debate over vaccinations.
In his speech to the conservative gathering, the Maryland doctor called on people to become more engaged in politics.
"We need to talk to our uncle who hasn't voted in 20 years, go to your grandma who's an invalid and make sure she has an absentee ballot, help her fill it out. The baton is ours, freedom is not free, it must be fought for."
Watch more of his speech: