- Ben Carson said he would "absolutely not" walk back his comparison of the U.S. to Nazi Germany
- Carson also clarified comments that Obamacare was "the worst" thing to happen since slavery
- A CNN/ORC poll this week showed Carson taking second in the GOP presidential field
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson stood by his controversial comparison of the United States to Nazi Germany in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday.
Asked by Blitzer whether he would amend or take back his comments, Carson said "Absolutely not."
Carson made the comments during a March interview with conservative news outlet Breitbart.com. He noted that the Third Reich was "using its tools to intimidate the population," and said that "we now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe."
In elaborating on those comments Wednesday, he again suggested that the U.S. "government is using instruments of government, like the IRS, to punish its opponents."
Pressed by Blitzer on whether the comparison was appropriate, Carson argued his focus on the specific words was "part of the problem."
"What you were doing is allowing words to affect you more than listening to what was actually being said. And that's part of the problem," he said.
"You are just focusing on the words 'Nazi Germany' and completely missing the point of what is being said," he added.
He was also asked about comments that Obamacare was the "worst thing" that's happened in the U.S. "since slavery." Carson said whether the health care reform law was worse than other crises that have gripped the nation, like the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 or the Great Depression, is "not the point."
"The point of what I'm saying...is a major fundamental shift of power has occurred," from the people to the government, and "if we continue down that road the United States of America becomes something very different than it was intended to be."
Carson's unapologetic, outspoken style has contributed to his meteoric rise within the conservative movement and the Republican Party more broadly, and he's begun to raise his profile nationally as he contemplates a 2016 presidential run.
A CNN/ORC poll out this week found Carson unexpectedly taking second place in the GOP field, with 10 percent support, behind only 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Carson told CNN that he'll decide whether to run "certainly before" May 1, but that there's "no question we're putting together an infrastructure" in case he decides to jump in.