Neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson told CNN on Thursday that he supports News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, who controversially tweeted earlier this week, comparing the authenticity of Carson and President Barack Obama’s black identities:
Ben and Candy Carson terrific. What about a real black President who can properly address the racial divide? And much else.
— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) October 8, 2015
Murdoch later claimed he was referring to a New York Magazine article detailing the various ways President Obama has fallen short in helping communities of color, and followed up on the tweet saying, “Apologies! No offense meant. Personally find both men charming.”
In a Thursday interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who said he found the comment “pretty shocking” and “ugly,” Carson defended the Australian mogul:
Carson began by assuring viewers that Murdoch is “not a racist by any stretch of the imagination,” and said those outraged at the suggestion that President Obama is not a “real black president” are making “much ado about nothing.”
“Everybody’s entitled to their opinion,” he said. “I believe what he was making reference to was the fact that here was a man who was a black president that the black community was very excited about who came in and whose policies have not really elevated the black community. He has not been beneficial. There’s more unemployment, more poverty, and I believe that’s what he was really referring to.”
Though the percent of Americans living in poverty has ticked up by about 1 percent, it has gone down every year since 2010. The president’s 2009 stimulus created millions of jobs and kept 6 million people out of poverty. During Obama’s first six years in office, the U.S. has added nearly five times more jobs than it did during the entire eight years under President George W. Bush. The unemployment rate is currently lower than when President Obama took office in 2009.
However, as the New York Magazine article emphasizes, millions of Americans continue to struggle financially — especially people of color.