Behind the Curtain at TMM

Wisdom from Dr. Carson

Benjamin Carson, M.D.

Dr. Benjamin Carson receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush on June 19, 2008. Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Getty Images

If you always learn, then you're always making progress.

Lee, here.

Above is a quote from renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson. He was on today's program to talk about many things — his modest upbringing, his faith and the risks of medicine. But, notably, we wanted to talk to the author about his recent honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Also, the debate over Michelle Obama. Is she being covered fairly by the press? She's been called "unpatriotic" and "angry" by some, but to an entirely different group she's "classy", "supportive" and just ... "strong."

We're also interested in knowing how your perceptions of Mrs. Obama differ from that of, say, Cindy McCain.

Or, will the personality of candidate's spouse be of any significance to you at all when choosing a president in November?



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Regarding racism vs. ageism on today's program. There's also the grey area where folks can actually admit their prejudices and work against them. And there is no way to measure that. Not really.

I'll give you an example. At ten when my school was integrated by court order, my best friend was black. It caused quite a stir. However, within a short period of time, I learned that anyone who has ever judged a book by its cover is prejudiced, and I had to admit. I was prejudiced. So I confessed it, much to the chagrin of my friend.

All that to say, we function with our prejudices, not without them. Anyone saying that they have no prejudice is lying. If not to pollsters, at least to themselves. Prejudice needn't cripple you. You can still support a candidate...despite age or race whatever your existing prejudice.

Sent by Amy Hamilton | 10:19 PM | 6-25-2008

Thank you for this extraordinary interview with Dr. Ben Carson. Would that more young people of all races could hear and experience the inspiring words of this incredible man. I had to stop what I was doing today, just to listen to that interview and I was mesmerized.
His clear thinking, deep spirituality and common sense make me wish he was running for president. I was especially moved by his comments about health care and the fact that we must "re-invent the wheel." I hope someone in power is listening to him. The Medal of Honor is well deserved, but adopting some of this mans ideas would be an even greater tribute to him.

Sent by Lurline P. | 10:17 AM | 6-26-2008

I just listened to your program on " make-over or not!" PLEASE! If there was ever anyone who does not need a make-over, it is Michelle Obama!!!!! Yes, she just needs to remain herself--charming, funny, honest, strong, and yes, OMG, opinionated!!!!! She has great taste in her clothing, her hair, etc. Just leave her alone!!! The last thing we need is another packaged politician or spouse--it is SO boring and obvious! I keep asking myself who would not say they had never been so proud of America on seeing her husband getting the response he has? I am a 64 yr old wasp voting democratic for the first time!!!!!

Sent by Lynda H. | 10:18 AM | 6-26-2008

Can I just tell Michel thanks for such AWESOME commentary on strong women and their personalities?

I wish that commentary could be sent to all the talking heads on TV who have made snide remarks when it came to Michelle Obama. Women like her are normal to me - assertive, charming, and educated. What's wrong with that?

And newsflash to all those pundits: anger is allowed. Sometimes that's a prelude to something getting done. You can't tell me anger wasn't the driving force behind MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) being formed or child protection laws being enforced.

Sent by Moji | 11:50 AM | 6-26-2008

"Also, the debate over Michelle Obama. Is she being covered fairly by the press? She's been called 'unpatriotic' and 'angry' by some, but to an entirely different group she's 'classy', 'supportive' and just ... 'strong.'"

I have a better question: why is she covered at all? She's not running for president; her husband is.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but when Michel Martin got her job with NPR or ABC or any of the other networks, stations, or papers she worked for previously, she wasn't required to bring ten of her closest family members into the human resources offices in order for their recruiters to determine if her family life qualified her for the job. Yet, when it comes to President of the United States, their family life matters. As Ms. Martin has put it so eloquently before, PUH-LEEZ!

And, for those who claim that the family is the reflection of the candidate, let's look at history. Both Kennedy and Lincoln had effective presidencies, but their family lives were difficult at best. No doubt, also, some ineffectual caretaker presidencies had wonderful family lives, or at least that's how I imagine a Fillmore White House.

So what if Michelle Obama dresses nicely? So what if she may or may not have made a racial slur in church? It doesn't matter. She's not running for President, for crying out loud.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that I was part of a presidential family. That's right. I am the second cousin by marriage of the former president of Ireland, Rosemary Scallon. Now, it may have been self-serving on my part, but I refused all media requests for interviews because I didn't think it was my place to interfere with her Administration.

Wait a minute. No media outlet ever requested an interview simply because I was second cousin of the President of Ireland. Now, there's an idea....

Sent by Matthew C. Scallon | 11:59 AM | 6-26-2008

Thanks for your opinion piece on Michelle Obama being "angry." I kept waiting for someone in the media to point out that she should be angry and that's part of why she and Barack are trying to change things.

Sent by Ezra | 12:55 PM | 6-26-2008

(At the risk of sounding like a broken record), great commentary on Michelle Obama's "image problem". One aspect of this that I find ...amusing is that the conservative Right wants to pick at the Obamas but, thus far, have nothing to really run with. They are a nuclear family that did all of the right things (college, law school, marriage, family). If they were Republican, they would be the Right's dream couple! And isn't it fascinating that they don't REALLY want to question Michelle too harshly because Cindy Mccain then comes equally into play and they would have to deal with the fact that John McCain was dating Cindy Helmsley while still married to Carol McCain. They are positively in a quandry. How do they reconcile "family values" when the party we oppose has a candidate who is doing everything we espouse and our candidate has not?

And as for Dr. Carson, he must have secured a "higher place in heaven" for all of the great work he has done. I read his memoir a few years ago and am purchasing it for my children to read when they get older. What a great human being.

Sent by JR In Cincinnati | 8:35 AM | 6-27-2008

First: Michele Obama is covered by media because she has placed herself in that position, and as Barack's freely-chosen wife and sounding board, her statements provide some insight into his views.

Second: I confess a prejudice. Not a racial prejudice, but a prejudice about the behavior and other communications of individuals. If someone sets out to offend me, I can assure you they will succeed!

Sent by True_Liberal | 10:04 AM | 6-27-2008