The 12 most memorable quotes from Ben Carson's campaign

Story highlights

  • Carson is expected to leave the race after a poor showing on Super Tuesday
  • Carson's candidacy has been marked by several notable statements

(CNN)After a series of disappointing primary results, Ben Carson on Wednesday announced he would skip Thursday night's debate in his hometown of Detroit and said he saw no "political path" to the Republican presidential nomination.

The retired neurosurgeon entered the GOP contest -- which he led for small stretches last fall -- as a political outsider with heavy conservative bona fides and a remarkable personal story. Throughout his time in the race, he's offered a treasure trove of alternately odd, amusing and occasionally confounding statements.
    Here are 12 of the most memorable quotes:

    On guns and the Nazis

    "I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in October. "I'm telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take the guns first."

    On what he would do if confronted by a gunman

    "Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say, 'Hey, guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me but he can't get us all,'" Carson explained during an October interview on Fox News.

    On what actually happened when he was

    "I have had a gun held on me when I was in a Popeye's organization (in Baltimore)," he said a day later, on Sirius XM Radio. "Guy comes in, put the gun in my ribs. And I just said, 'I believe that you want the guy behind the counter.'"

    On what's worse than treating the victims of gun violence

    "There is no doubt that this senseless violence is breathtaking -- but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away," he wrote on Facebook in October.

    On how the social safety net worked in the old days

    "If someone got killed by a bear, everyone took care of their family," he said at a CNN town hall event in South Carolina last month.

    On what Stalin said about the U.S.

    "Joseph Stalin said if you want to bring America down you have to undermine three things -- our spiritual life, our patriotism, and our morality," Carson said in his closing remarks at a February debate. The CNN Reality Check Team rated its attribution to the former Soviet dictator as "false."

    On why he received limited speaking time at a GOP debate in January

    "(The debate) reminds me a little bit of ancient Rome, where everybody wanted to go the Colosseum to see the blood and gore while their society was crumbling around them," he told Alisyn Camerota on CNN's "New Day."

    On the prospect of a Muslim president

    "I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press" in September.

    On the process he would use to select a Supreme Court nominee

    "As president, I would go through and I would look at what a person's life has been," he said at last week's CNN Republican debate in Houston. "What have they done in the past, what kind of judgments have they made? What kind of associations do they have? That will tell you a lot more than an interview will tell you. The fruit salad of their life is what I will look at."

    On his violent youth

    "As a teenager, I would go after people with rocks and bricks and baseball bats and hammers," he recalled in October on NBC's "Meet the Press." "And, of course, many people know the story when I was 14 and I tried to stab someone."

    On his Egyptian pyramid theory

    "The pyramids were made in a way that they had hermetically sealed compartments," he said in November, explaining his belief that they were built for the purpose of storing grain. "You wouldn't need hermetically sealed compartments for a sepulcher. You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain for a long period of time."

    After being mostly ignored by his rivals during last week's debate

    "Can somebody attack me, please?"