Ben Carson has strong words about the first black American president: "He's an 'African'-American. He was, you know, raised white," Carson tells Glenn Thrush in a Politico interview published Tuesday. "He didn't grow up like I grew up," says Carson, who was raised poor by a single mother in Detroit. "So, for [Obama] to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch." Carson, meanwhile, has certainly experienced "real racism," he says—as opposed to what's considered racism today. "A lot of things that people classify as racism is classism," he notes.
Speaking of racism today, Carson insisted he's never experienced any in the current-day GOP, which is just 2% black and about 90% white. Democrats, however, have some issues: "They assume because you’re black, you have to think a certain way," he says. "And if you don’t think that way, you’re 'Uncle Tom,' you’re worthy of every horrible epithet they can come up with; whereas, if I weren’t black, then I would just be a Republican." In the earlier days of his campaign, Carson didn't talk much about race, but the Atlantic also pointed out on Tuesday that his campaign has been running two "race-based ads" recently: one calls affirmative action "racial entitlement" that hurts blacks and the other calls black crime a "crisis" and implies it's the biggest threat to the black community. (Read more Ben Carson stories.)