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Fox News "The O'Reilly Factor"- Transcript: New Poll Gives Ben Carson Highest Favorability Rating


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O'REILLY: "Personal Story Segment" tonight, new Washington Post/ABC News poll says Ben Carson has the highest favorability rating among self- identified Republicans. 62 percent like him.

Dr. Carson joins us now from West Palm Beach, Florida. So I know your numbers have not been great in the polls, but that's a really good number. I mean Republicans like you the best of all the candidates. But I think that your inexperience may be holding you back. We will get to that in a moment.

Last night what was the worst thing you heard at the State of the Union?

DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There were a lot of worse things, but one of them was that, you know, we are divided and that the President doesn't think that he has a whole lot to do with that.

The other thing is that our economy is improving. He talked about the unemployment rate but, of course, doesn't talk about the labor force participation rate, doesn't talk about the index of economic freedom.

We were always in the top three nations. In the last year we descended down to number 12 and moving even further down. You know, that measures the ability a to start a business and to expand that business.

O'REILLY: Yes. Sure.

CARSON: You know, we're going in the wrong direction.

O'REILLY: I believe so, too. But, you know, it will be for the folks to decide in the next election. So what was the best thing you heard from President Obama?

CARSON: Well, you know, he is a good wordsmith. And he makes it sound like things are going to be extremely good for the next generation who is coming along. And we've done all the requisite things to make sure that they can enjoy the American dream.

I actually believe that we can preserve the American dream, but it's going to require a significant departure from the types of policies that he has advocated.

O'REILLY: Ok. So I hear a rumor tomorrow you are going to like let loose and it's going to be Carson unchained at the Republican debate in South Carolina. Is that true?

CARSON: I'm still going to be a nice person, but I will probably be a bit more assertive in terms of -- you know, there have been a lot of times subjects come up and I have something to say but don't seem to be able to get in to say it. I will be much more assertive in terms of insinuating myself and making sure that in fact it does get heard.

O'REILLY: Are you going to be louder or are you going to be still calm? I mean because in order to get in to get these people's attention you have to be like me. And I don't wish that on you, Doctor, at all. You have to kind of pound the table a little bit.

CARSON: I'm actually bringing my Bill O'Reilly mask. I'll put it on whenever I need to get in there.

O'REILLY: I am the master of interruption as you know. All right. And I can interrupt anyone. But sometimes as you said, in order to get your point across and not let propaganda rule, you have to interrupt.

CARSON: Unfortunately that is the case. I have learned that and I think you will see that too a significant degree. Also, the moderators that we have tomorrow are people who I think will at least make an attempt to keep things --

O'REILLY: Yes. And they did last time -- Bartiromo and Cavuto. They're fair-minded people, they're not windy. They will give you your say. But it's going to be a brawl because the other candidates --

CARSON: And there's only seven of us.

O'REILLY: There are other candidates like you that need to make an impression. It's a last stand and so there's going to be a lot -- I think it's going to be the most raucous debate tomorrow night because there is going to be a lot of people in. Now are you going to go after your competition if they say something that you believe is wrong and say hey, Trump, you don't know what you are talking about? Are you going to do that?

CARSON: If somebody says something that is clearly wrong, and something that attacks me, believe me they will get an appropriate response.


CARSON: No question about it.

O'REILLY: Opening statement and I don't want to give your competition any leg up, but what are you going to concentrate on in your first initial foray?

CARSON: Well, there is not going to be an opening statement.

O'REILLY: I'm sorry, you are right. But they are going to come to you with a general question, which you, of course, can turn any way you want to turn it. And that's the way the game is played. How are you going to present it?

CARSON: Well, I want to turn it to the American dream.


CARSON: You know, this generation right now is the first generation expected to do worse than their parents. And it's going downhill from there. We need to preserve that. I'm going to find a way to get that in there.

O'REILLY: Ok. So your overall theme is that things keep going the way they are going, you can kiss it goodbye for the next generation so we better have some urgency here.

CARSON: Exactly. And also, I want to talk about foreign policy. You know, I can talk quite in-depth about foreign policy. And I want us to abandon the narrative that the President has said. He says, you know, that Islamic state is not an existential threat to us. I think that is exactly wrong. He is thinking in terms of traditional warfare. This is a new era that we live in.


CARSON: There is a different type of warfare. And unless we prepare for it and unless we think proactively, we are going to be victims.

O'REILLY: And we already are. Our whole lifestyles have changed in the United States from travel to security, to scaring the children. So we -- it's already happened.

Hey, Doc, good luck.

CARSON: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: We appreciate you coming on as always.


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