Dr. Ben Carson is out with a rap radio ad aimed at wooing young black voters, a voting bloc that Republicans traditionally struggle to attract.
“America became a great nation early on not because it was flooded with politicians but because it was flooded with people who understood the value of personal responsibility, hard work, innovation and that’s what will get us on the right track now,” Carson says calmly as rapper Aspiring Mogul raps about voting for the candidate “for the next president to be awesome.” ABC News obtained the ad.
Carson’s campaign feels the bold ad will help boost his appeal outside his usual base of evangelicals and women over 40 — though the candidate himself said it wasn’t really his style.
“There are people in the campaign who felt that was a good way to do things and you know they’re entitled to their opinions of those things,” he said while on book tour in Florida. “I support them in doing that, but I probably would have taken a little different approach.”
The Carson campaign spent $150,000 to put the ad, entitled “Freedom,” on the air for two weeks in urban areas, NBC News confirmed. The 58-second spot will play starting in March in cities including Miami, Atlanta, Houston, and Detroit; as well as Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; and Little Rock, Arkansas.
Carson is the only African-American 2016 candidate in a party that has historically failed to attract black voters. In contrast, Democrat Barack Obama won more than 90% of black votes in the last two presidential elections.
“African-Americans fundamentally believe that the Republican Party does not care about black people and that’s a very hard legacy to overcome,” Leah Wright Rigueur, a professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and author of “The Loneliness of the Black Republican,” told MSNBC earlier this year.
Still, the Carson campaign seems intent on building on his appeal as an outsider — not as a Republican.
“I’m very hopeful that I’m not the only one that’s willing to pick up the baton to freedom. Because freedom is not free and we must fight for it every day,” Carson says in the ad. “Every one of us must fight for us because we are fighting for our children and the next generation.”