The presidential campaign: Ben Carson

  • Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson is surrounded by reporters in the spin room after arriving at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson smiles as he arrives at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Republican presidential candidates line up for a photo op before the CNN Republican Debate begins at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Dr. Ben Carson speaks during the Freedom Summit, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Dr. Ben Carson supporter sits for a meal, Nashua, N.H., April 18, 2015. 
  • Dr. Ben Carson speaks at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, IA, Jan. 24, 2015. 
  • Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson attends the media spin room after the Republican Presidential debate in North Charleston, S.C. on Jan. 14, 2016.

of

Updated

Ben Carson’s meteoric rise has been followed by a rather steady fall.

The retired neurosurgeon received a surge of support just a few months ago, pitching himself as an outsider candidate who has never held or run for public office. Much like Republican front-runner Donald Trump, Carson has emphasized his lack of political experience was a plus rather than a liability – and that line of argument has served him well, especially among social conservatives  and religious supporters in Iowa.

Carson is perhaps better known for his biography (growing up poor in Detroit and becoming a popular neurosurgeon) than his policy positions. But he’s been especially vocal on a number issues, including Planned Parenthood, religious liberty and a tax system based on tithing.

While the soft-spoken Carson managed to surge past an ever boisterous Trump in several Iowa polls at the end of October and early November, his campaign has since taken a beating, with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida now ahead of him.

Carson’s dip in the polls has coincided with the GOPer facing questions over his personal history, in addition to concerns that he doesn’t have enough foreign policy experience in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris. He’s had a slew of foreign policy blunders, including a suggestion that China was involved in the conflict in Syria, mispronouncing “Hamas”—the  Palestinian group considered by the U.S. to be a terrorist organization – as “hummus” in front of a influential Republican Jews, and struggling to answer what groups he’d enlist the help  destroy ISIS.

Team Carson is seemingly in damage control mode in effort to convince the country that he does have an understanding about foreign policy. The candidate is reportedly involved in routine prep sessions and recently issued a seven point plan to defeat ISIS.

These photographs were shot on assignment by photographer Mark Peterson for MSNBC Photography as part of his on-going body of work “Political Theater” which examines the landscape of the American political system.

Speak Out