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Carson launches exploratory committee

Dr. Ben Carson speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty)
Dr. Ben Carson speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Dr. Ben Carson — the renowned neurosurgeon and Christian conservative — on Tuesday took another step towards entering the 2016 presidential race by launching an exploratory committee.

Carson announced the committee with a video and new website.

"With the launch of this web site, I formally establish what is called a presidential exploratory committee to examine whether I should become a candidate for president of the United States," he says in the video. "In so doing, I very much need and look forward to your feedback and help."

Carson appeared on the political scene two years ago, when he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and criticized the president who was sitting two seats away.  Fox News snatched up the retired doctor as a conservative commentator, and he quickly became a conservative celebrity. Carson has never held elected office and is largely considered a fringe candidate, but early polls indicate that he can't be counted out just yet.

Politically, Carson is far to the right: He's strictly pro-life, anti-gay, and fiercely Christian. He’s likened being gay to pedophilia, compared present-day America to Nazi Germany, and said Obamacare is akin to slavery.

RELATED: 2016 wild card Dr. Ben Carson takes the stage

The launch comes on the heels of a successful appearance at the GOP’s largest annual event, the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he was followed by fans decked in "Run, Ben, Run" tee-shirts, cheered on at every moment, and affectionately dubbed “Dr. Ben.”

Carson, an African-American raised by a single mother in inner-city Detroit, could add some valuable diversity to the GOP field. He hints at that in his video.  

"If I run for president, it will be because I know what it's like to grow up in a tough neighborhood and feel marginalized," Carson says. "If I run, it will be because I know firsthand that quality education is the ladder to climb out of poverty and dependence."