PELLA, Iowa – With just weeks before the first contests of the 2016 campaign, Dr. Ben Carson’s wife, Candy Carson, is coming into the spotlight, doing high profile interviews to promote her new book, “A Doctor in the House.” And speaking to a packed room full of voters here, the candidate showed enthusiasm for his wife’s media stops.
“She’s as you can see terrific, very bubbly, everyone just loves my wife – she should be the candidate,” Carson said in Panora, Iowa.
Candy Carson has remained largely behind the scenes, though she travels with the campaign and has appeared in ads. Her new book humanizes the Republican candidate, testifying to her husband’s character and faith – a key selling point for the neurosurgeon. And not surprisingly, Carson’s rags-to-riches story, stressed often throughout his campaign (and even turned into a made-for-television movie starting Cuba Gooding Jr.) is a focal point in the book.
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Here are 10 things we learned about Candy – and Ben – from the memoir released this week:
1. Being the wife of a renowned neurosurgeon is not easy: she used to bring him dinner at 2 a.m. during his residency, moved to Australia while five months pregnant so Ben could start another job, and jokes that she often has to say things three times to make sure he’s listening.
2. Candy recounts being alone so much that the Church she attended wondered if she was making her husband up (and the pastor actually went to check that Dr. Carson existed to make sure she wasn’t unstable.) She and her children, who she interviews for the book, write about being often alone, but cherishing the time they spent with Carson.
3. Her upbringing in Detroit – which she characterizes as a ghetto – informed her for the rest of her life. When the family was robbed, Candy nearly refused to identify her belongings for fear of having to ride in the back of a squad car. (The police came to pick her up in an unmarked car, so she agreed to go.)
4. Ben was passionate about community service; when accepting new jobs, he negotiated to ensure he had time to continue speaking at schools. To combine family time and those speaking events, the whole family joined in on these trips.
5. A lifelong musician, Candy and her kids formed a quartet – the Carson 4 – that performed often as the kids were growing up. Her Christmas album is available to fans at campaign events.
6. Australia has some very big, scary spiders. Candy includes a lengthy passage about a terrifying encounter with one spider in 1983.
7. Snakes aren’t much better: Candy and her three sons all tried to make each other take care of a garden snake that appeared in the kitchen, before Dr. Carson came home and removed it.
8. According to Candy, Dr. Carson’s favorite car – a Jaguar – was nearly stolen at a gas station in Baltimore, but the car-jackers stopped and returned the car to Carson when they realized who they were stealing from, instead opting to simply shake his hand.
9. She gave birth to her son in a bathroom, clipping the placenta with a hair clip; while Carson recounts this birthing story as taking place in their bed in his 2009 book, “Gifted Hands,” he too notes the use of a hair clip.
10. Carson is a jokester. Candy recounts one joke specifically: “There was a guy who was dating this girl named Kate. But that wasn’t enough for him, so he began to date another young lady named Edith. When the two young women discovered he had been two-timing them, they killed him. The moral of the story is you can’t have your Kate and Edith, too.” (Get it?)