Dr. Ben Carson's visit to Columbus met with mixed reaction - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Dr. Ben Carson's visit to Columbus met with mixed reaction

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Dr. Ben Carson has been gaining a lot of attention as a conservative speaker and there's talk about him running for president in 2016. No stranger to the spotlight for controversy, he gained world renown for his decision to attempt surgery on conjoined twins with a 50% chance of survival.   Now he's creating new controversy and coincidentally in Columbus as a guest speaker by invitation of the Pastoral Institute.    

"Dr. Ben Carson grew up in the projects.  His mother urged him, in fact, she insisted that he read and think bigger than the world around him," said Ronald King, Pastoral Institute executive director.

"Certainly, a story coming from someone of that background is appealing," added Hon. John D. Allen, a Columbus Superior Court judge.  

The doctor's visit was protested by the local NAACP chapter following a comparison he made of the president's new healthcare laws to slavery.  

"He has every right to be against Obamacare. He's an American citizen, he has every right to be against it.   But he does not have the right to sit up and offend a group of people and think that we should not speak out on it," said Columbus NAACP president, Nate Sanderson.  

Guests in attendance reacted to the doctor's remarks.  

"I don't support his views on the affordable care act. I'm one of those people who believes that as much good should be done for the little person as possible," said Judge Allen.  

"I think it's going to be interesting if he makes some remarks offering some clarity to some of the things he's mentioned," said Dr. Woodrow McWilliams.  

"If anyone makes a comparison between Obamacare or the Affordable Act with slavery, that statement is ludicrous.   But notwithstanding that ludicrous statement, the man is a medical genius and I respect that," said Derrell Dowdell, a Columbus attorney.  

While some in audience were offset by the doctor's choice of words, all were able to look past those remarks to embrace the message of community service that he came to speak about.

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